Magnus Eze, Enugu
Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) has said that the proposed Water Resources bill presently before the Senate amounted to the reintroduction of the rejected RUGA agricultural project.
It also stated that the bill entitled “An Act to establish a regulatory framework for the water resources sector in Nigeria” was a renewed desperate attempt to erase every semblance of federalism from Nigeria and consolidate a unitary system with the sole objective of expropriating people from all their resources, including the most basic of all, water.
ASETU’s National President, Chief Emeka Diwe and National Secretary, Gideon Adikwuru in a statement, yesterday, noted that the provision in Section 2 (1) of the bill that, “All surface water and ground water, wherever it occurs, is a resource common to all people,” was designed to make the affected states “no man’s land.”
The group described the bill as an aberration in a federation and that it should be resisted.
“This same ill-fated bill had surfaced in the former 8th Assembly, but was thrown out.
Now, in all haste, vehemence and secrecy, the sponsors have reintroduced it and have deployed executive overhang to push it through.
“The provocative bill which intention is to give the Federal Government absolute powers to take control over water resources everywhere in Nigeria, also allows the government to control about three kilometres radius of the water bodies, meaning that it will control both the water and the land resources.
This unfettered access which the Federal Government seeks to the water and land resources which, ordinarily, belong to states and local communities, serves the interest of the northern elite who have monopolised the oil sector, just as it meets the aspirations of the Fulani agro-bourgeoisie who have relentlessly sought to decimate us and convert our lands to grazing reserves for their cattle.
“It is their wish now to tacitly terminate the federal structure of Nigeria and covertly reintroduce RUGA.
We therefore reject it completely, and we urge all Senators from the Southern extraction to commit this anti-people Bill to the museum of history,” ASETU said.