Water resources bill unacceptable, threat to Nigerians, groups insist
Written by MaryGift Sunday on October 2, 2020
The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) have condemned plans by some members of the House of Representatives to reintroduce the National Water Resources Bill, which was withdrawn on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 after a debate in the House.
At the rowdy session, some members of the House alleged a breach of House Standing Rules, while working towards passing the bill into law and relied on the anomaly to ask the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to trash the Bill or have it reworked and represented for consideration.
Following this development, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the House would start the consideration of the bill afresh.
But in a statement issued by CAPPA Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor in Lagos, the groups said plans to reintroduce the Bill smacked of disrespect for the wishes of Nigerians, who have rejected it due to its ambiguous, obnoxious and pro-privatisation clauses.
AUPCTRE National President, Comrade Benjamin Anthony said: “We are not in any way perturbed by the withdrawal of the Bill but we are very worried that even with the confirmation that the current effort to pass it is a backdoor deal, its promoters are still pressing ahead with trying to reintroduce it and foisting it on Nigerians. It is totally unacceptable.”
Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “By the withdrawal of the Bill by the House of Representatives our position is vindicated. We had noted that the speed with which it was smuggled into the House and passed was very suspicious. Our position will not change. This kind of draconian Bill is not what Nigerians need. Not currently, and never”
Also, the Isoko Progressive Front (IPF) has asked the National Assembly to not only suspend the National Water Resources Bill, but also kill it, insisting that it was a potential threat to Nigerians.
In a statement issued by its President, Dr. Prosper Ahworegba, the group maintained that the Bill was reintroduced to the Ninth National Assembly through the back door after it was thrown out in the Eighth Assembly and should not be considered now or in the future.
Ahworegba accused the Federal Government of having a sinister motive behind the bill hence its insensitivity in addressing the concerns Nigerians have expressed about the bill.
He added that the bill presented grave consequences to the Isoko people and the rights Nigerians.Particularly, Ahworegba noted that the bill is a major threat to the existence of Isoko people, stating that the people live in the upper reaches of the Niger Delta in the freshwater swamps of the River Niger, which is their ancestral land.
He noted that by implication, the bill would empower the Federal Government to subdue the entire Isoko land and make them refugees in their ancestral homes when it eventually becomes law.