Water bill controversy: No plan to impeach Gbajabiamila, says Reps
• Proposal dead on arrival, Minority Leader affirms
• Why water merchants sponsor misinformation on planned legislation, by minister
House of Representatives has debunked media reports of plans by the chamber to impeach the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The House said the Speaker remains the only presiding officer that has enjoyed total and unalloyed support of members since its return to democracy in 1999; hence, it would not contemplate any such move.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, yesterday, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House and other principal officers denied allegations that the northern caucus in the chamber was plotting Gbajabiamila’s removal to smuggle in and pass the controversial water resources bill
The lawmakers noted there hasn’t been any controversy regarding Gbajabiamila’s leadership, since he came on board as Speaker, wondering why such an allegation would be brought up when the need for national unity should be a top priority, following rising insecurity in the country.
Also, the leader of the northern caucus, Sarki Ada, denied knowledge of the allegation, describing it as a figment of the imagination of Nigeria’s enemies.
“I remember when the Speaker was contesting for the position against a northerner. We (the northern caucus) voted against our own to ensure victory for the Speaker. And as such, he has continued to enjoy our support, and remains our leader,” he said.
Ada had earlier during plenary raised the issue of the water resources bill under Matters of Privilege, saying it was an executive bill and wondered why anyone would allege northern lawmakers were planning the Speaker’s removal to make way for the legislation.
Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, also raised a point of order, stressing there was no way the bill would sail through. He said the bill had been debated and unanimously thrown out by the chamber, insisting it was dead on arrival.
BUT Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, urged Nigerians to reject fake news and false information by water merchants opposed to the bill.
Adamu stated this in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists on the bill.
He said: “As a responsible government, we are very passionate about the bill because it is pro-people. There are benefits that will accrue to Nigerians when it is passed.”
On fears of lands being taken over, he said: “The Federal Government is responsible for managing inter-state water resources under the applicable legislation. We are not taking over anything but amalgamating existing laws.”
He added: “Everybody downstream is protected by this bill. Every day, boreholes are being drilled. We don’t even have the statistics. We need to know what is happening to our groundwater as a responsible government.
“Government only needs to know that you have drilled a borehole in your home for personal consumption. But if you drill a borehole for commercial use, you have to pay the necessary bill.
“If we allow the people misleading us to succeed, all the benefits that accrue to the bill will be lost because of fake news and false assumptions.”