Ohanaeze rejects water resources bill

September 19th, 2019

*Says it’s Fulani expansionist agenda

From Steve Oko, Umuahia

The youth wing of the apex Igbo body Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), has squarely rejected moves to re-introduce the controversial National Water Resources Management Bill by the National Assembly.

OYC which spoke through its National President, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, OYC, urged the National Assembly members of Igbo extraction to “roundly and unanimously reject the Bill as it seeks to promote the Fulani expansionist agenda of grabbing the lands and depriving indigenous fishermen and farmers of their water.”

Igboayaka who noted that “the controversial Executive Bill which is similar to the widely rejected Rural Grazing Areas(RUGA) by Nigerians was first sent to the legislature in May 2017, debated by the lower chamber as far back as July 2017 before it was roundly rejected by the Bukola Saraki-led 8th Senate,” wondering why the Federal Government is hellbent on imposing the Bill on the country despite its rejection by citizens.

In a statement by his Media Aide , Chukwuemeka Chimerue, the OYC helmsman regretted that at a time the country, particularly the Southern region is demanding restructuring and elaborate devolution of power concentrated at the centre, the Federal Government is busy seeking ways to arrogate more power to itself to annex and control state resources, expressing worry that the Bill will further deplete the resources to the states and local governments.

OYC was particularly piqued that the revisiting of the controversial bill as an executive bill, originating from the Presidency, “seeks to place exclusive control of the country’s water resources, including all the rivers and lakes across the states, under the control of the Federal Government.”

The proposed bill which is currently before the 9th Senate, if passed into law, will transfer ownership of every lake, every river including the creeks or ancestral waters to the FG.

“It will repeal the Water Resources Act and will further encroach on the land and other timeless heritage of the Eastern people. It is simply a strategy for dispossession which is not what the country needed at this point in time.

“If the controversial bill is not a careful plot for internal colonialism and to deprive states of the little benefits they derive from oil and other natural resources, in disguise, we want to ask the President why he is so much interested in all the rivers and their banks.

“If the Federal Government controls all rivers and their undefined banks, what happens to oil wells in the creeks that are onshore and other economic activities in other states at the banks? They still have a lot of explanation to offer to the masses and wait for their verdict.”

OYC noted, in particular, that the 9th Senate under Ahmed Lawan “is working seriously to discredit itself as a rubber-stamp assembly and going overboard with the execution of the overreaching and domination agenda of the president and its cronies”.

“When it appears that the RUGA scheme is doomed to fail, they now want to introduce the water resources bill that could not scale through the 8th Senate, through the back door. They should be very careful.”

OYC therefore, called on “all Christian denominations, traditional institutions, civil society organization and all the ethnic nationalities in South-South to stand tall and reject Water way bill for the intent of such bill is purely against the economic survival of Ndi Igbo.”

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