The House of Representatives has moved a step closer to creating a new state in Nigeria as a bill seeking the establishment of Etiti State from five southeastern states passed its second reading on Thursday.

The proposed Etiti State would encompass 11 existing local government areas (LGAs) from the southeastern region. The bill seeks to amend Section 3(1) of the Nigerian Constitution to increase the number of states from 36 to 37 by inserting ‘Etiti’ immediately after ‘Enugu’.

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In addition to this, the bill proposes consequential alterations in the First Schedule, Part I, which includes:

  • Carving out Isuikwuato and Umunneochi LGAs from Abia
  • Orumba North and Orumba South LGAs from Anambra
  • Ivo and Ohaozara LGAs from Ebonyi
  • Aninri, Awgu, and Oji River LGAs from Enugu
  • Okigwe and Onuimo LGAs from Imo

Lokpanta is designated as the capital city of the proposed Etiti State.

Rationale and Support for the Bill

Leading the debate, one of the bill’s sponsors, Hon. Amobi Ogah, emphasized that the creation of Etiti State would bring the southeast in line with other regions of the country. He highlighted that while other regions have at least six states, with the North West having seven, the South East remains the only zone with five states.

Hon. Ogah stated, “The current structure of the Southeast region with just five states—Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo—as against other regions which have no fewer than six States, has been a subject of debate and advocacy for reconfiguration.”

He added, “The creation of Etiti State is a proactive step towards aligning the region with the structural realities of its other five sister regions in the country. This long overdue step will foster equitable representation, enhance governance efficiency, and promote socio-economic development within the region.”

Ogah underscored that the Southeast, with its rich cultural heritage and strategic economic potential, deserves a governance framework that optimally serves its diverse communities. He said the creation of Etiti State would facilitate more targeted development initiatives, better resource allocation, and improved service delivery to the people.

Addressing Longstanding Issues

The proposed bill seeks to address a longstanding issue of regional parity and administrative efficiency within the Southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Hon. Ogah stressed the need to alter the 1999 Constitution to accommodate the creation of Etiti State, thereby increasing the number of states in the South-East geopolitical zone to six.

He said, “The establishment of Etiti State is not just a matter of administrative convenience but a step towards ensuring balanced regional development and effective governance. It responds to the aspirations of the people of a very important region in this country and aligns with the principles of equity and inclusivity enshrined in our democratic ideals.”

Ogah highlighted that the creation of Etiti State represents a unique opportunity to strengthen Nigeria’s federal structure, empower communities, and foster national unity.

Next Steps

The bill has been referred to the Special Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution for further legislative action. The committee will conduct further reviews and consultations before the bill proceeds to subsequent readings and potential passage into law.