Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has urged Nigerians and lawmakers to reject the National Water Resources Bill 2020 being proposed by the House of Representatives.
Onuesoke, who made the call in Kaduna, yesterday during a visit to the family of victims of Southern Kaduna bandits attack, revealed that the bill, if allowed to sail through, will vest the power over all water resources in the country in the executive.
The former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, appealed to freedom loving Nigerians to resist this move to grab the land around waterways for cattle herders by the Executive arm of government.
The PDP chieftain, who described the bill as a plot to advance the interests of the cattle-herding population, recalled that the bill when first introduced last year by the Presidency had generated controversy across the country, because of its desire to have the Federal Government take charge of lands and water resources in the country.
According to him, “Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives, had raised concerns over the piece of legislation on July 23, wondering: Is this not the same Bill that generated controversy in the media”.
Onuesoke argued that The Bill entitled: “National Water Resources Bill, 2020”, was arbitrarily re-introduced in the Green Chamber, 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, when it passed it. But the unpopular piece of legislation hadn’t secured the 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 argued that the referral of the said Bill to the Committee of the Whole, however, breaches Order 12 Rule 16 of the Standing Orders of the House, which states that such a Bill from a preceding Assembly be gazetted and clean copies circulated, stressing 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.