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South East group rejects Water Resources Bill

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A group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), has kicked against the alleged move by the Federal Government to control all sources of water in the country through the Water Resources Bill.

The bill, which was not passed by the 8th Senate, is currently before the House of Representatives for passage. In a statement on Sunday by its President- General, Goodluck Ibem, and Secretary-General, Kanice Igwe, the group claimed that the bill was “an attempt by certain vested interests within the Presidency in cahoots with certain members of the National Assembly to push through an obnoxious bill reintroduced in the 9th Assembly by a clique of “hungry land-grabbers”.

COSEYL wondered why the bill is attracting much attention from the Presidency when number legislation by the National Assembly have not been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The statement said: “Why is it that a certain part of the country appears to be sponsoring bills to censor social media through anti-social media bill, freedom of speech through hate speech bill, and even a bill to ban the use of generators in a country where electricity tariff has skyrocketed by over 100 percent?

“When is the government for once going to be pro-people and pro-poor?”
The group also claimed that the bill is aimed at appropriating people’s land as well as placing all river basins and water bodies under the control of the Federal Government.

“What becomes of areas like Niger Delta and Lagos should this bill see the light of day?” COSEYL asked. It added: “In the spirit of federalism the Federal Government cannot solely and singularly own assets such as land. The coalition regrets that the bill now being reintroduced is contemporaneous with the grazing bill which Nigerians saw as a design to grab their land and resources. What is the plot behind this if not to further fan the embers of division and bad blood as seen before evidently?”

Meanwhile, the representative of Nkwerre/Isu/Nwagele/ Njaba, Imo State, in the House of Representatives, Ugonna Ozurigbo, has proposed an amendment to Section 839 of the Companies & Allied Matters Act.

In a memo submitted to the office of the House Speaker, dated August 31, Ozurigbo said the section should be amended by adding subsection 12 to read, “notwithstanding any provision in this Act, nothing in this Act shall apply to religious bodies”.

The former Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly said the bill, when amended, would help to preserve the sanctity of religious bodies in the country.

He said: “It is hoped that this intervention will be able to address the concerns of Nigerians and the Christian Association of Nigeria about the Act.

“It is also hoped that the Nigerian House of Representatives will give the bill the desired attention it requires upon resumption.”


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COSEYLGoodluck Ibem
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