Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described as draconian the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly, saying it would have adverse effect on the predominantly maritime state if passed into law.
Senator Diri condemned the bill on Friday when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack and her team paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that it would be unfair and unjust to introduce the water resources bill when oil producing states were still agitating for a fair deal from their oil and gas resources.
His words: “The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, would have more negative impact on us, as we are mainly maritime environment. Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the Federal Government is trying to introduce a water resources law at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal. This bill is tantamount to stifling us. The fede Federal Government is on our neck and we cannot breathe anymore.”
Governor Diri called on sponsors of the bill to withdraw it, saying the country operates a federal system of government rather than a unitary government.
He said: “We are running a federal government where you do not centralise resources or political power. It is where you run a unitary system of government that those kind of draconian bills can come. But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to expropriate their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“They emasculate the states’ resources and then give peanuts to them. They still turn around to say the states are not performing. How can they perform when you take away all their resources?”