Nigerians have been urged to rise to oppose the House of Representatives’ proposed National Water Resources Bill 2020.
The Bill, if allowed to sail through, will vest the power over all water sources across the federation in the hands of the executive, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain in Delta has warned.
He appealed to freedom-loving Nigerians to resist the move to grab lands around waterways for cattle herders by the Executive Arm of Government of Nigeria.
He described the Bill as a decoy to advance the interests of the cattle-herding population in the country.
Onuesoke recalled that the Bill, when it was first introduced in 2019 by the Presidency, had generated controversies across the country, over the ploy to have the Federal Government take charge of lands and water resources in the country.
“Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, had raised concerns over the piece of legislation on July 23, querying that “Is this not the same Bill that generated controversy in the Media,” he enthused.
He, however, wondered why the same Gbajabiamila still allowed the Bill to pass after the Chairman, Rules and Business, Reps, Abubakar Fulata presented the Bill in the House.
Onuesoke observed that the Bill titled: “National Water Resources Bill, 2020”, was arbitrarily reintroduced in the Green Chambers, in breach of its rules, legislative convention and provisions of the 1999 Constitution before the House adjourned for a two-month recess on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
“The reintroduced bill, though was negatived by the 8th Senate, headed by Dr Bukola Saraki, the Rep. Yakubu Dogara-led 8th House, passed it.
“But the unpopular piece of legislation hadn’t secured concurrence of the Senate and the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari, before that Assembly elapsed in June last year.
“Recall that on Thursday, July 23, 2020, the House had, referring to Order 12, Rule 18 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, 9th Edition, passed the National Water Resources Bill, 2020 and committed it to a “Committee of the Whole”, for Third Reading and final passage,” he disclosed.
Onuesoke added that the referral of the said Bill to the Committee of the Whole, however, breached Order 12 Rule 16 of the Standing Orders of the House which states that such a Bill from a preceding Assembly is gazetted and clean copies circulated.
He stressed that investigations have revealed that the Bill was neither gazetted nor cleaned copies circulated to members before it was committed on Thursday, July 23 for passage, in breach of the rules of the House. Order 12 Rule 18.