Ortom: Water bill will deny citizens their rights | Dailytrust

Ortom: Water bill will deny citizens their rights

Governor Samuel Ortom
Governor Samuel Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Sunday frowned at the reintroduction of the controversial National Water Resources Bill, insisting that Benue would not be part of it.

Ortom said the controversial bill which was reintroduced on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, to the House of Representatives by the Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli from Katsina State, smacked the height of insensitivity.

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He contended that though it was not the first or even the second time that the bill was brought before the National Assembly, “the Muhammadu Buhari administration had been consistently on a move to hijack all water resources in the country using the instrumentality of the same bill in 2018 when the President first sent the proposed law to the National Assembly as an Executive Bill on April 11, 2017”.

The governor in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Terver Akase, added, “The Federal Government’s insistence to take over the control of water resources across the country is tantamount to the suppression and enslavement of indigenous people of this country.

“We fault the submission of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on the day the bill was reintroduced, that all Governors contributed in the drafting of the new bill. We find it unconscionable, the Speaker’s mention of Governor Samuel Ortom as one of those who endorsed the bill. Governor Ortom’s stand against cattle colonies, RUGA and the water resources bill has been consistent, and he won’t shift his position now!

“Coming at a time when Nigerians are clamouring for proper federalism which entails devolution of powers to states and local governments, the introduction of a Water Resources Bill by the Buhari administration to deprive the people of their water resources is not only unfortunate but also smacks of insensitivity.

“We want to alert Nigerians again that if the National Water Resources Bill is passed into law, the rights of citizens over freshwater resources – ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and springs will be taken away with impunity. The bill will deny states and local government authorities as well as individuals the right to make use of the water in their backyard until they get permission from Abuja.

“We state unequivocally that Benue will not be part of the National Water Resources Bill! Our state should therefore be counted out of any discussion that pertains to the bill.”

 

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