The passage of the DESOPADEC law amendment bill was sequel to the resumed consideration of the report of the Ad-Hoc-Committee at yesterday’s plenary.
The executive bill was passed in line with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) model, to ensure adequate representation of the oil -bearing communities and the five ethnic nationalities in the state.
The House had commenced the consideration of the report at Tuesday’s plenary after its presentation by the Ad-Hoc-Committee, following which the House resolved into a committee of the whole, sequel a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere and seconded by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Oboro Preyor .
At the committee of the whole, various sections were amended clause by clause as proposed by some members.
With the amendments, the commission will no longer have a Secretary but a Managing Director and four Executive Directors proposed in the bill, who will be in charge of the day-to-day running of the commission.
The commission will have a Chairman and Board members who will operate as a part-time basis; also included is a Governing Board, which will consist of the chairman, managing director, four executive directors and eight representatives from oil producing communities of the state and two Ex-Officio representing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Impacted communities were also accommodated in the DESOPADEC law amendment bill, as it was clearly defined that any community within five kilometres to an oil and gas producing community or processing facility, will be regarded as an impacted community.
However, moves by Hon. Festus Okoh, representing Ika South Constituency to amend Section 2 of the bill to include Ika ethnic nationality as an oil producing nationality suffered setback as it did not sail through.
Similarly the member representing Ika North East Constituency, Hon Anthony Elekokwuri’s motion to revisit the amendment, also failed as the motion was not seconded.
As it stands in the bill, the five ethnic nationalities in the DESOPADEC law amendment bill are Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa nations.
The Speaker, Hon Monday Igbuya, who commended the lawmakers for their effort in passing the bill, which was the first to be passed by the 6th Assembly, said the bill was amended clause by clause from Section 1 to 20, including the schedules.
The DESOPADEC law amendment bill was passed following a motion for the third reading by the Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere and seconded by the member representing Patani Constituency, Hon. Timi Tonye, after which it was adopted through a voice vote put forward by the Speaker.
The amended bill, which has now been passed into law, was forwarded to the Delta State House of Assembly by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the very first weeks of his administration, and has automatically repealed the DESOPADEC Law of 2006 and the amended 2010 Law, respectively.
Governor Okowa is now expected to formally sign the amended bill which has now become law by an act of parliament and subsequently forward the names of the nominees who will constitute the new DESOPADEC Board to the Delta State House of Assembly, for screening.
Deltans will recall that the former DESOPADEC Board headed by Mr. Oritsua Kpogho was dissolved in July 2015, following the expiration of the three year tenure of that Board, which was first constituted in August 2011, but was dissolved in September 2012, only to be re-constituted in November 2012.