Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Saturday, said the South-East National Assembly Caucus would engage in a fresh push for the passage of a bill that seeks to establish the South-East Development Commission.
The proposed commission will receive and manage funds from the Federation Account for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, houses and infrastructural damages suffered by the region as a result of the effects of the Civil War.
The agency is also expected to tackle ecological problems and other environmental and developmental challenges in the zone.
Moves to establish the planned commission failed earlier in the year after the bill could not pass the second reading in the House of Representatives.
Speaking at the opening session of the South-East Economic Summit in Enugu on Saturday, Ekweremadu revealed that National Assembly members from the region intended to, once again, push for the passage of the Bill.
He added that the lawmakers would engage in consultations with their colleagues from other parts of the country before a fresh presentation of the bill.
Speaking on the need for a ‘legal framework’ for the implementation of resolutions from the summit, the Deputy Senate President said, “The South-East Commission Bill failed in the House of Representatives but was passed in the Senate.”
He said, “We are believing God, we are going to work with other lawmakers from other parts of the country to make that commission a reality.”
Stressing the need for regional cooperation, Ekweremadu declared that the creation of states “was the greatest tragedy” that befell Nigeria.
He observed that Nigeria should have reverted to regional units after the civil war.
He expressed regrets over the development, noting that the current state structure was not viable.
“Some of them (states) cannot pay salaries,” he stressed.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, and his Enugu State counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in their separate remarks at the event, spoke on the need to fast-track economic development in the zone through regional integration.