The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has urged the Federal Government to facilitate the withdrawal of the recently revived National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly. He also urged the sponsors of the bill to withdraw it. He stressed that the bill would have a negative impact on coastal states if passed into law. President Buhari had, in 2017, presented the controversial Bill to both chambers of the National Assembly, which seeks to transfer the control of water resources from the states to the Federal Government. The Bill resurfaced on the floor of the House of Representatives penultimate Thursday.
Diri condemned the bill when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Didi Walson-Jack, and her team, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Yenagoa, on Friday. Similarly, The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra has urged the National Assembly not to hearken to the ‘plea’ of President Muhammadu Buhari, for a passage into law of the National Water Resources Bill. But the IPOB in a statement, on Saturday, said it was not in support of the Bill, citing an ulterior motive. Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, on Thursday, stated reasons the ministry insisted on pushing the water resources bill through despite growing opposition to it. The minister noted that the bill, when passed into law, will usher in great benefits to the country, part of it is increasing revenue generation to the government purse. While stating that the reintroduced water resources bill was not new, the minister said that the only difference was the activities of the Water Resources Commission.
Look elsewhere – IPOB; ‘After taking our oil, you want our water too?’ – Diri
“We, the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra, wish to call for caution once again over the water ways secret bill sent to the Nigerian National Assembly by Buhari and his Fulani kinsmen. “We wish to unequivocally state our stand once again to Buhari, the National Assembly, the Fulani and entire world that Buhari cannot use crooked means to hand over our water ways in Biafraland to Fulani from Futajalon, having passed through mighty expanse of empty land in the North. We neither for once in our lifetime ventured into encroachment nor occupation of any inch or parcel of land not belonging to us despite our limited land space.
“The National Assembly must save Fulani because this Bill sent by Buhari will consume so many of them if they venture into any river or water way situated in Biafraland. The National Assembly must stop that Bill because it will only end up in the dustbin of history as one of the useless non-implementable acts of the Nigerian National Assembly. This deliberate attempt to steal our ancestral land and waterways by trick and through the back door is dead on arrival because it will be resisted with everything that we have at our disposal. Such impunity and selfishness considering the vast expanse of land available to Fulani in Northern Nigeria. “ “We reject that in totality, we knew that the impostor wants to secure lands and waterways for Fulani bandits and terrorists before he leaves office in less than one year, let him look elsewhere.”
“The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, will have a more negative impact on us, as we are primarily a maritime environment. “Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the Federal Government is trying to introduce a water resources law, at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal. This bill is tantamount to stifling us. The Federal Government is on our neck, and we cannot breathe anymore.” “ It is where you run a unitary system of government that that kind of draconian bill can come. But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to use their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.”
Immense benefits pushing us for water resources bill – Minister
“Why the ministry is insisting on water resources is that you are all aware that the water bill before the national assembly is not a new one it is a document with the existing law the only difference in the water resources bill is the activities of water resources commission which has been incorporated into the bill and there are benefits attached to it. “For instance, like I mentioned this morning, there are so many projections on water demand and it is through the development of the identifying program that will help us to meet up with all the demands; water supply, hydropower generation, irrigation, access to potable water and good hygiene all these are parts of the content of the bill there is nothing new in the bill.
“Parts of the projection are generating more revenue through commercial and industrial purposes but on domestic purpose, water is free but using it for commercial purpose attract fees this will help us to maintain other infrastructure and meet the budgetary allocation on the water sector. For instance, breweries use a lot of water and they are not checkmated so how do we realize the revenue from there to develop the sector that will help to plough back on social amenities that will improve the well-being of Nigerians “That is why the ministry is pushing for the passage of water resources bill so as to ensure that we enjoy all benefits accrued in the bill.” “The processes are still on to accommodate all issues we have received the issues raised by Governors Forum at the end when all these are harmonized we are going to have a document that will be acceptable to all Nigerians.”