WORRIED by its possible dire implications, the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) has called on members of the National Assembly to shoot down the Water Resources Bill.
The executive bill, which is currently in the Senate, seeks to control surface and groundwater resources including banks and river beds in any part of the country by the Federal Government.
IYC, therefore, described the bill as “another draconian legislation to further colonize the Niger Delta people.”
IYC President Worldwide, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq., in a statement made available electronically to Tribune Online in Warri, Delta State, on Saturday said the bill was against the spirit of federalism and the genuine calls for restructuring.
He alleged that the FG was hell-bent on worsening the already unitary state of the lopsided structure of the country with the intent to further pauperise and subjugate people of the Niger Delta.
“It is an affront to the demands for true federalism and resource control by the federating states.
“The objective of the Bill, which is Christened: ‘A Bill for An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, Provide for the Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment, Management, Use and Conservation of Nigeria’s Surface Water and Groundwater Resources and for Related Matter’ is to perpetuate the Federal Government’s colonisation agenda against the Niger Delta region.
“This is another Oil Pipelines Act, Petroleum Act, 1999 Constitution, the Land Use Act and many other draconian and inimical legislations that have divested the Niger Delta people of their rights to ownership of oil resources in the region.
“The Bill is antithetical to the economic growth of the Niger Delta region as the riverine communities will be denied of their means of livelihood.
“This is an economic strangulation, a declaration of economic war of aggression, second to the environmental degradation and despoliation occasioned by the oil explorative activities.
“If the rivers in the region, which are the sources of survival to the beleaguered and pauperized riverine communities are in the exclusive control of the Federal Government, then what will be the fate of the people?” the Ijaw youth leader queried.
According to the IYC president, “For the sake of peace in the region and for the interest of our collective coexistence, the NASS should jettison the passage of the bill.”
He warned that “If however, the lawmakers are keen on passing the bill, then they should remove all the rivers in the Niger Delta region.
“Let them narrow the bill to only rivers in Niger, Benue and Lake Chad.”
He vowed to mobilize the Niger Delta people to resist the passage of the bill with all vigour and every legitimate means at its disposal, lamenting “This is the worst legislative atrocity meted out against the riverine dwellers.”
“The proposed Act is against all known international practices relating to the management of water resources.
“If Nigeria is practising federal system, then this esoteric application of unitary system should be abolished.
“States should be allowed to have full control of the waters in their domains,” the Ijaw youths further averred.
The group called on the lawmakers from the Niger Delta region to reject the passage of what it described as “Niger Deltaphobe called Water Resources Bill,” vowing to defend their stance.
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