Governors reject contentious Water Resources Bill
Re-submission is plot to empower criminal herders, says HURIWA
Governors of the 36 states of the federation, yesterday, declared unanimous opposition to the contentious National Water Resources Bill, describing the proposed legislation as unconstitutional. They also said it failed to carry states along.
In a communique issued at the end of the 5th teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on Tuesday, the governors “argued that the bill does not adequately address interests of the states and is inconsistent with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The bill, according to the forum, should be reviewed, with a view to accommodating the concerns of all states.”
The bill is the subject of a rumoured impeachment move against House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Senate had in 2018 rejected the bill on account of its unpopularity across the country.
Specifically, the bill, as introduced in the 8th and current National Assembly, seeks to empower the Federal Government to control all water resources in the country, such as rivers, streams, lakes and underground water.
While northern senators, predominantly APC senators and Muslims, supported the bill and its objectives, their southern counterparts, mostly Christians, were strongly against it. Opponents had pointed out that if passed into law, it would hinder current move towards devolution of powers.
MEANWHILE, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), criticised Buhari for re-submission of the bill, the third time in about five years.
HURIWA said the action violates the President’s oath of office not to allow personal interests undermine national issues.
It said repeated presentation of the bill is a signal Buhari intends to flood Nigeria with displaced Fulani from the war-torn Central African Republic.
National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the President has ulterior motives for insisting the bill is passed into law despite problematic clauses, which have attracted widespread rejection by all and sundry, except the Fulani.
Onwubiko said: “The fixation of Buhari and his kinsmen from Katsina State to make the bill a law is condemnable and self-serving. HURIWA rejects unequivocally this toxic and divisive bill plotting to seize control of water resources of southern Nigeria for the purposes of donating same to foreign displaced criminal Fulani herders from Central African Republic, Chad, Niger Republic and other places.”
“The National Assembly should not empower criminality by passing this despicable bill. The President should also desist from pushing this heinous and divisive agenda to see the bill assented into law.”