ABUJA—WORRIED by the bad state of social infrastructure in the South-East zone of the country, Senators from the zone yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and pleaded with him to address the problems head-on.
Other pressing issues the senators, on the platform of South-East Senate Caucus, took to the President were those of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and perceived lop-sided appointments.
Led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the caucus’ Chairman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the senators expressed regret and dissatisfaction with the present state of infrastructure in the zone.
The meeting, however, was held behind closed doors inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Meanwhile, following the problem of erosion in the South-East and some other parts of the country, a bill for an act to establish an erosion control and prevention commission, yesterday, scaled second reading in the Senate.
Buhari made promises—Ekweremadu, Abaribe
On the Senators meeting with the President, Senator Ekweremadu said that Buhari had promised to address the issues raised.
He said that the caucus made the move because the people of the South-East believed in dialogue as an instrument of peace and development.
He said: “For us from the South-East, we believe that dialogue is better than any other form of engagement. So we decided to visit the President and present to him some of the concerns of the South-East, including the issues of roads, general infrastructure: the rail, airports.
“We also discussed the issue of security with him and of course, the issue of IPOB. We had a good conversation and he promised to look into the issues.”
Also speaking, Senator Abaribe said South-East zone was the most marginalised in the country even as he recognised that there were other social issues across the country.
He said: “This is the South-East caucus in the Senate and we came to see the President because of the issues we have.
“We had a fruitful discussion with the President. He has promised us that he is going to look into the
problems of the South-East.
“We are reassured with the response we got from the President and we look forward to further interaction with him in this manner.”
Other senators on the delegation were Sam Egwu, Hope Uzodinma, Andy Uba and Chukwuka Utazi.
On the erosion bill, which was sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo West), it was first read on Wednesday, August 12, 2015.
In his lead debate yesterday, Senator Hope Uzodinma said: “I wish to thank you for this great privilege to lead the debate on the general principles on a Bill for An Act to establish the Erosion Control and Prevention Commission and for other matters connected therewith, 2015.
“Nigeria is plagued by numerous environmental problems of different degrees. Almost every part of this country is characterised by one environmental problem or the other, but the menace of erosion is unarguably the severest in terms of devastation and destruction.
“There is no better time than now to leave a legacy for Nigerians. The menace of erosion leaves in its trails serious economic hardship and poverty on Nigerians.
“Families are rendered homeless, villages displaced and yet the ecological fund targeted at addressing this problem stands misdirected.
“There is the dire need for adequate management of this fund, hence the call for the establishment of this Commission.”