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UNDEDSS, Momoh, Okurounmu caution government on water resources bill

By Seye Olumide
24 September 2020   |   5:04 am
Following the insistence by the Federal Government to push through the controversial Water Resources Amendment Bill at the National Assembly, a coalition...

•Group, others kick, ex-minister urges restructuring for better Nigeria
Following the insistence by the Federal Government to push through the controversial Water Resources Amendment Bill at the National Assembly, a coalition of civil society organisations under the umbrella of United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) has vowed to resist the piece of legislation with every lawful means.

In a similar vein, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee of the 2014 National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu, said all constituencies and senatorial districts across the south, Middle Belt and some parts of North Central regions must be prepared to recall any of their lawmakers that backs the bill.

But a founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh, sounded a note of caution to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, reminding it that the numerous clamours and other challenges in the polity “could only be resolved when the country is restructured.”

In a communiqué issued after an emergency meeting to register their displeasure with the proposed law, UNDEDSS Secretary General, Tony Uranta, said the Presidency must come to terms with the fact that no part of Nigeria “is a conquered province, and previous insults heaped on the Niger Delta must end forthwith.”

The group noted: “For too long, our region has been the whipping boy of Nigeria. Whenever any national leader wants to appear to be serious about the war against corruption, the focus is the Niger Delta, its governors and others. Then you will hear questions like, ‘What have you used the 13 per cent derivative for?’ Nobody asks what has been derived from the 87 per cent that goes to the rest of the country, even though over 95 per cent of revenues come from our bastardised and despoliated waters and land.”

Deploring the singling out of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for probe among the lot of state-owned parastatals, the organisation urged the current administration to immediately implement the 16-point 2016 agreement it struck with the region during the several meetings between the President and leaderships of the UNDEDSS and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).

Continuing, Momoh said what the country needed was a conscientious review of the constitution leading to restructuring, to address for once the perennial suspicion between the south and north.

The former Minister of Information submitted: “The only way forward is by restructuring. If we do, all these issues would resolve themselves automatically.”

He said besides the water bill uproar, the most populous nation was yet to address problems of security, welfare and economy, “because there is too much of power concentrated at the centre.”

In a telephone chat yesterday, Okurounmu stated that “there is an agenda behind the bill, and the aim is to capture the south and turn it into a conquered territory for the use of Fulani herders in future.”

In his remarks, National Publicity Secretary of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Prince Adelaja Adeoye, advised government to retrace its step regarding the contentious legislation.