By Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Thursday set aside party differences to shoot down a Water Sector Bill which would have imposed taxes/levies on usage of water by residents of the state.
Bayelsa State created on October 1, 1996 and surrounded by water has not been able to provide pipe borne water for the people of the state.
However Hon Ebiowou Koku-Obiyai representing Yenagoa Constituency 2 introduced a controversial bill which seeks to impose taxes and regulate the use of water in the state.
Hardly had the Bill been introduced then most of the lawmakers took turns to criticise the bill describing it as anti people.
According to the members, they argued that the bill was anti-people and anti-Bayelsa, that it intends to force taxes, levies on people before they could drink water from their Rivers, drill boreholes, and even swim in these Rivers that are not being provided to them by Government.
Hon MacDonald Igbadiwei representing Southern-Ijaw constituency four noted that the bill would deprive the people of Southern-Ijaw from accessing their God given waters at will, he decried that they as Government had not provided good water for the people, as such had no morals to regulate or impose levies on Bayelsans before they could access natural waters provided by God.
Igbadiwei further lamented that it would be devastating if the bill scales through its first reading, adding that the people of constituency four would never forgive him if the bill is passed.
Another member, Hon. Oboku Oforji Yenagoa Constituency One appealed to members to as a matter of urgency dismiss the bill.
According to him it would be inhuman to tell Yenagoa people to pay taxes before they could use the Rivers, drill their boreholes when he should rather be advocating for good governance and provision of good pipe borne water.
He stated that he would not support the bill that because his constituents would be disappointed in him if the bill is passed.
Hon. Timi Omubo Agala who also spoke on the floor of the house described the bill as obnoxious, provoking and vexatious, stating that the bill seeks to create a board to regulate usage of water duplicating the job of ministry of water resources which will increase the state wage bill and running cost of Governance when attention should be directed to reduction in cost considering the recession.
Other members who also spoke against the Bill are Hon Tare Porri, Hon. Daniel Charles, Hon. Awudulu, Hon. Gibson Munalayefa amongst others.
Attempts by Hon. Ebiowouto further explained that the bill would attract international donors and give the state a face lift was shot down as well as opposing members called for its dismissal to avoid civil disobedience.
Meanwhile the clerk of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has been suspended over gross misconduct and undermining members of the 6th Assembly.
The motion for his suspension was moved by Hon. Timi Omubo Agala representing Brass constituency two.
The Speaker Rt. Hon. Abraham Ngobere has constituted a disciplinary Committee to the effect, to be chaired by the deputy leader of the house, Hon. Bernard Kenebai representing Sagbama constituency two.
Other members of the disciplinary committee are Hon. MacDonald Igbadiwei, representing Southern-Ijaw constituency four, Hon. Oyinke Godbless, representing Sagbama constituency one.