A move by some senators to include non-Niger Delta States in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was rejected by lawmakers from the oil producing areas.

There was a move by senators from other regions, especially South West to include non-oil producing states in the NDDC.

This followed a debate on a Bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the inclusion of new oil producing areas and states (into NDDC) and other matters connected therewith sponsored by Senator Adeola Solomon Olamilekan (Lagos West).

The bill which seeks to accommodate states that have attained the status of oil producing states into the Niger Delta Development Commission, was first read for the first time in the Red Chamber on Tuesday 17th December, 2019.

But Olamilekan in his argument, said following the discovery of oil in Bauchi, Lagos and Ogun states, that they should officially join the league of oil producing states in Nigeria following the discovery of crude oil in Alkaleri local government area of Bauchi; Badagry, Lagos, and Ipokia, Ogun State.

By virtue of this, Olamilekan said the states are entitled to the 13 percent derivation that is due to oil producing states according to the provision of Section 162 Sub-Section 2 of the Nigeria Constitution.

He further argued that the purpose of the Bill was for an Act to make provision for new states who have joined the leagues of oil producing states in Nigeria and for states that might eventually discover oil in the future as opposed to the present position of the Act which only covers oil producing states within the Niger Delta region.

The Lagos senator said the inclusion of the new oil producing states in the Act saves costs and follows precedence.

“In conclusion, this amendment is to accord the same provisions of the law amongst other benefits accrued to oil producing states in Nigeria to the new oil producing states and future oil producing states,” Olamilekan said.

But senators from the Niger Delta region described the Bill as selfish and dead on arrival.

The deputy senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege, described Senator Solomon Adeola as a meddlesome interloper while rejecting Olamilekan’s filibuster.

“We look forward to the day when indeed all states in Nigeria will not only produce oil but produce one form of mineral resource or the other.

“Dealing with the issue of 13 per cent derivation. To us that is not an issue to the extent that they produce oil in commercial quantity and DPR so determines that oil is sold, and revenue is sent to the federation account. That is not the issue yet. The issue is whether or not just because they are oil producing they should come under NDDC, if you are looking for meddlesome interlopers, you don’t have to go to far to find one.

“This debate clearly shows that my colleague from Lagos is a classic meddlesome interloper. The Niger Delta Development Commission is a regional development commission. We must draw a distinction between the NDDC and the oil and mineral producing commission,” he said.

On his part, Sen George Thomson Sekibo congratulated states that have recently attained the status of oil producing states but wonder if they had attained the status of producing in commercial quantity.

“I congratulate these states where my friend said they have discovered oil. What I don’t know is whether the oil is in commercial quantity and they are drilling them out for sales and the money going to Nigerian coffers. That one, he has not expatriated on that one,” he said.