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Bill to create new Southeast state passes first reading at Reps

A bill to create an additional state known as Orlu State in the Southeast region passed its first reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill was sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ideato North South Federal Constituency of Imo State, Hon. Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, along with other co-sponsoring lawmakers.

The piece of legislation which will see to the creation of Orlu State will amend the 1999 Constitution, increasing the number of states in Nigeria from 36 to 37.

Ugochinyere during the plenary session presided over by deputy speaker, Benjamin Kalu, said the new state, with Orlu as its capital city, will be created from portions of Imo, Abia, and Anambra states.

In April, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, through its President-General, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, called for the creation of additional states in the Southeast.

Iwuanyanwu lamented that the South East has lost trillions as a result of the disparity in state and local government creation, which was done by military fiat.

Iwuanyanwu said that Ohanaeze was not happy with the 1999 Constitution as amended and threatened to take legal action against the Federal Government if it failed to give the region an additional state equivalent to other zones in the country.

Also, recall that a similar bill to create an additional three states in the Southwest region namely- Oke-Ogun, Ijebu, and Ife-Ijesa is being considered by the lower chamber.

Sponsored by the member representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency, Osun State, Oluwole Oke, the bill proposes to amend the first schedule, part I of the constitution to include that Oke-Ogun State, with Iseyin as its proposed capital city, will comprise 12 local government areas.

Ijebu State, upon creation, will consist of nine LGAs with Ijebu Ode as its capital, while Ife Ijesa State is set to be composed of 11 LGAs, with Ile-Ife as its capital city.

However, the new bill by Ugochinyere sought to amend the 1999 Constitution by adding a new paragraph to include 28 local government areas.

These areas are Orlu, Orsu, Oru West, Oru East, Ideato North, Ideato South, Njaba, Nkwerre, Nwangele, Isu, Oguta, Ohaji Egbema, Onuimo, Ihiala, Uga, Uli, Ozubulu, Akokwa, Arondizuogu, Umuchu, Umunze, Umuaku, New Ideato North, Nwabosi West, Nwabosi East, Owerre Nkworji, Alaoma, Amaifeke, and Owerrebiri Umuowa.

Ugochinyere urged his colleagues to back the legislation to ensure its successful passage during the second reading.

He said that the establishment of Orlu State could result in the formation of Ideato as a senatorial district.

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