President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the North East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2017.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen Ita Enang, made this known in a statement on Wednesday.
He noted that the commission had the mandate to receive and manage funds allocated by the Federal Government and international donor agencies for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency.
He added that the Act would also help in tackling the menace of poverty and environmental challenges in the North –East.
“It provides for offices of Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Director (Administration and Finance), Executive Director (Humanitarian Affairs), Executive Director (Operations) and members representing the North East Zone to be rotated amongst member states of the commission.
“The commission will among other things coordinate projects and programmes within the Master Plan for the rehabilitation, resettlement, reconciliation, reconstruction and sustainable development of the North-East Zone.
“This will be done in the field of infrastructure, human and social services, including health and nutrition, education and water supply, agriculture, wealth creation and employment opportunities, urban and rural development and poverty alleviation.
“The commission will also liaise with federal ministries, departments, agencies, states and development partners on implementation of all measures approved in the Master Plan for stabilization and development of the North-East by the Federal Government.
“It will equally assess and report on any project being funded or carried out in the North-East by any federal ministry, department and agency or company that has an agreement with the Federal Government, and ensure that funds released for such projects are properly utilised.
“The commission will equally liaise with other stakeholders on tackling of humanitarian, ecological and environmental problems and degradation that arise from natural causes, insurgency and industrial activities in the North-East Zone,’’ he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill into law.
In a statement signed by the speaker, on Wednesday in Abuja, he commended the President’s ‘sensitivity to the plight of the highly traumatised people of the North East’.
“I expect that the expeditious coming into force of the commission will remedy the long years of underdevelopment suffered by the region.
“The recovery and redevelopment of the zone devastated by terrorism is expected to last decades,” Dogara said.
It will be recalled that the North East Development Commission establishment Bill was sponsored by the Speaker in 2015.
He had also moved a motion which the House passed a resolution calling for the recovery, resettlement, and rebuilding of the violence-ravaged region and the convocation of an international donor conference for total reconstruction and rebuilding of the region.