Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has advised the National Assembly to reject the National Water Resources Bill which he says is not in Nigeria’s interest.
Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka had first raised alarm about the bill which he says was rejected years ago.
“A roundly condemned project blasted out of sight by public outrage one or two years ago is being exhumed and sneaked back into service by none other than a failed government, and with the consent of a body of people, supposedly elected to serve as custodians of the rights, freedoms and existential exigencies of millions. This bill – Bill on National Water resources 2020 – is designed to hand Aso Rock absolute control over the nation’s entire water resources, both over and underground,” he said.
Adding his voice, Ortom said the bill is a “disguised land-grabbing legislation designed to grant pastoralists unhindered access to river basins, adjacent marine and coastal environments across the country.”
The governor made this known in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase.
The statement read in part, “He (Ortom) says the bill, in addition to its provisions which are at variance with the Land Use Act, is a disguised land-grabbing legislation designed to grant pastoralists unhindered access to river basins, adjacent marine and coastal environments across the country.
“The governor maintains that the bill is another version of Ruga, whose objective is to create grazing areas in the 36 states of the federation for herders and their livestock.
“He commends sociocultural organisations such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze, and Middle Belt Forum for speaking against the reintroduction of the bill at the National Assembly.
“Governor Ortom urges the federal lawmakers to act as true representatives of the people for the sake of posterity, and to remember that the destiny of the country lies in their hands.”