…Says Bill will further enslave Niger Deltans, describes it as predatory
By Binebai Princewill
President general of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Deacon (Comr) Peter Timothy Igbifa has alerted Niger Delta lawmakers in both the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives to unanimously reject the Water Resources Bill brewing in the National Assembly.
The 8th President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Deacon (Comr) Peter Timothy Igbifa made the call on Sunday via a statement issued to newsmen in Yenagoa, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper.
The number one youth of the Ijaw nation globally had stated that the said Water Resources Bill if not rejected by Niger Delta lawmakers and others from sister regions will spell a doom for the country as it would further enslave Niger Deltans and Nigerians in general.
President Igbifa particularly described the Bill as predatory and a time bomb waiting to explode, stressing that the people of Niger Delta are tired of the unabated many years of sufferings and the visionlessness of the Nigerian entity.
Speaking on the dangers associated with the Bill if its ever scaled through, Igbifa said “Amongst the numerous contentious provisions in the proposed Water Resources Bill before the Nigerian Parliament, of paramount Interest to the region is Section 13, which provides; thus:”in implementing the principles under subsection (2) of this section, the institutions established under this Act shall promote integrated water resources management of land and water resources, surface water and ground water resources, river basins and adjacent marine and coastal environment and upstream and downstream interest”.
“Furthermore, Section 2(1) of the Bill provides that: ” All surface water and ground water wherever it occurs, is a resource common to all people”. In the nutshell, what the Bill stands to achieve is to give the Federal Government an enormous and overarching powers over the entire water resources of the country.
“The implication therefore, is that; our people in the coastal areas would need the permission of the Federal Government to drill boreholes; where the government has failed to provide portable water. Secondly, our people will require permission of the Federal Government to construct dug out ponds for fish farming and to engage in fishing expeditions in the waters surrounding their ancestral communities.
“More frightening, is the fact that, the Bill seeks to give, the Federal Government unwholesome powers to grant permission to people from different parts of the country and aliens the latitude to occupy coastal communities and region, without the express approval of locals indigenous to the area; in the guise of looking for areas where there are sufficient water for their inordinate quest. This will certainly spell doom.”
However, the IYC President has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently call for an all inclusive National Dialogue to properly discuss the way forward of the country.
He wondered why such Bill should even be discussed in the country when Niger Deltans are yet to even feed well from the proceeds of their oil and other natural resources.
The statement reads below in parts:
SUBJECT: OBNOXIOUS WATER RESOURCES BILL: A TIME BOMB WAITING TO EXPLODE
– We Urge Our Parliamentarians In The National Assembly To Reject This Vexatious And Provocative Water Resources Bill To Avert Dire Consequences From The Niger Delta
– Calls for an urgent National Discourse
We were wakening to the rude realization that some retrogressive elements in the country are hell-bent on ramming the proposed Water Resources Bill 2020 down the throats of Nigerians, particularly; the people of Niger Delta. Without any doubt, the people living within the coastal precincts of the Delta region would be severely affected by the rapacious Bill before the National Assembly.
Whereas, the people of the region are still battling with the Federal Government on the need to amend the Constitution and other legislations governing the Oil and Gas Industry, such as Petroleum Act, Associated Gas Re – injection Regulations, etc that gave the Federal Government the sole right to petroleum resources found in their ancestral lands. The federal government is unabashedly introducing measures and policies that will further enslave the people and appropriate the water bodies associated with people of the coastal communities.
This, like many other land grabbing and undemocratic initiatives by the federal government, such as the RUGA Settlement, Hate Speech Bill, etc will be resisted with every fiber of our being. We urge our parliamentarians from the Niger Delta and sister regions to stand in unison to defeat this cancerous and predatory Bill before the National Assembly.
It is a disaster and time bomb waiting to explode. The people of the region have endured the enslavement and visionlessness of the Nigerian State for too long. Only a Constitutional amendment that will grant the region the right to self determination and to control their God given resources will be accepted. We are calling for an urgent all – inclusive National Dialogue to address this menacing Bill, that is threatening to tear the moral fabric of the Nigerian society and other troubling national security challenges.