The re-submission of the controversial Water Resources Bill by the Federal Government has been described as a wicked plan being perpetrated to deprive Nigerians of their indigenous land and resources and make these open to herdsmen despite the opposing stand of Nigerians against the plan.
The Ecumenical Water Network Africa, an initiative of the World Council of Churches made up of churches and church-related organisations that promote the preservation, responsible management and equitable distribution of water for all, based on the understanding that water is a gift from God, a common good and a fundamental human right, made this known at the weekend…Continue Reading
The Regional Coordinator, Very Rev. O. Kolade Fadahunsi, speaking on behalf of the organization stated that the Water Resources Bill is a surreptitious plan and bringing it in through the back door again as an executive bill will not remove the danger that it originally posed to peace in the country.
He stated that “President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-submission of the controversial water resources bill that almost tore Nigeria and the National Assembly apart a few years ago is suspicious. It portends, without an iota of doubt, that this administration has an ulterior motive that from all indications is not in the national interest.
“It is therefore in the interest of peace and national stability that the bill is withdrawn to avoid an unmitigated crisis across the country. The reintroduction of the bill is awful as it justifies the suspicion of Nigerians that a wicked plan is being perpetrated. It beats logic, the insistence of President Buhari for the third time in about five years on making the proposal a law.
“It is worthy that some members of the House of Representatives at the National Assembly are vigilant to spot the reintroduction of the bill and the danger it portends to the country. We, therefore, call on the federal lawmakers not to sacrifice the country’s interest to the president’s ulterior motive. To be silent over a serious matter as this, will negate our trust in their responsibility,” he added.
According to Ecumenical Water Network Africa, the earlier bill had sought to transfer control of water resources from the states to the Federal Government which governors and other stakeholders rejected; the proposed legislation was opposed due to some of its provisions.
“A major cause for concern is that the bill seeks to give full control of all waterways and their banks in Nigeria to the Federal Government’ under guise that all Nigerians have fundamental rights to free movement The fear is justified because president Buhari has demonstrated support to grazing routes and the nomadic rights of herdsmen without voicing a corresponding concern about the havoc this caused farmers and their arms across the country.
“It is not far-fetched to conclude that if the bill sails through, natives will be rooted out of their indigenous land which is akin to handing peoples resources and water to the Federal Government to achieve their privatisation agenda that will put masses into abject water poverty. Curiously, this is the third time President Buhari is introducing this suspicious bill to the National Assembly. And now this latest attempt; with barely ten months to the end of his tenure, is seen as an indirect bid to alter the provisions of the Land Use Act that entrusts state land to governors.
“This is a blatant attack on federalism that Nigerians badly need besides constituting a heinous evil against the indigenous people of Nigeria, clearly, the bill is part of the larger secret agenda, the bill, if passed into law, will clip the wings of state and local government authorities as well as individuals from making use of the water in their backyard without a permit from Abuja. This development engenders serious contention across the country. The result will be water wars which would be more devastating than the contentions over grazing lands,” he added.