Last week, a bill seeking to include Bauchi, Kogi, Lagos and other states as members of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, passed its second reading in the Nigerian Senate.
According to Solomon Olamilekan, the senator representing Lagos West and arrowhead of the bill, the states should enjoy the same 13% derivation as other oil producing states and should be added to the NDDC.
The NDDC is an interventionist agency set up 21 years ago, with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
However, Matthew Urhoghide, the senator representing Edo South, pushed back, arguing that including non-Niger Delta states as members of the commission will make a mockery of the NDDC.
He noted that just because the states produce oil does not make them part of the Niger Delta region from a geographic perspective.
Expectedly, Senator Urhoghide’s position has received the backing of several Niger Delta groups, including the Ijaw National Congress.
Prof Benjamin Okaba, President of the Ijaw National Congress, discusses the NDDC, the amendment of its establishment Act, and his organisation’s opposition to the inclusion of other oil-producing states such as Kogi, Lagos and Anambra as members of the commission.