The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the leadership of the National Assembly against resurrecting or passing the Water Resources Bill into law because it portends danger to national unity.
According to the NLC, the National Assembly surreptitiously bringing back the bill, which seeks to vest the control of all water sources across the country in the President, amounts to ambushing Nigerians.
It will be recalled that there was outrage over the bill in 2018 when the eighth National Assembly was divided over it. However, the bill resurfaced at the present National Assembly on July 23, 2020, as the House of Representatives referred it to a “committee of the whole,” for third reading and passage.
The actions of the National Assembly to bring back the bill received a lot of backlash from different angles. For instance, Nobel laureate and social critic, Prof Wole Soyinka cautioned the FG against sneaking in the bill.
In addition, organisations such as Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Middle Belt Forum, also warned the Federal Government and the National Assembly against bringing back the bill.
VISIT ABOKI FX FOR LIVE RATES OF DOLLAR TO NAIRA
In his contribution to the national resistance to the bill, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, noted that the bill was earlier rejected in 2018 with good reasons.
In a statement released in Abuja on Monday, titled, ‘Do not ambush Nigerians,’ Wabba said the nation had enough challenges than to court fresh and costly controversy.
He stated, “Information in the public domain has it that the National Assembly leadership is working surreptitiously with vested interests outside the assembly to pass the bill without due legislative process. Although the National Assembly is constitutionally vested with law-making, we warn against the National Assembly ambushing Nigerians.
“We equally warn against legislative abuse or betrayal of Nigerians as this is what it will amount to if the bill is passed or caused to be passed without public engagement and scrutiny. Already, the sentiments expressed against this bill are too grave to be brushed off.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, It’s suicidal to reopen universities now: ASUU
Against the backdrop of the strong sentiments expressed against the bill from nearly all sections of the country, the NLC president strongly advised that the bill should not be resurrected.
He said, “In the light of this, we state unambiguously that the National Assembly should listen to the voice of reason by resting this bill.
“As a pan-Nigerian organisation, we would continue to work assiduously for unity, development, justice and accountable leadership,” the statement noted.
The Akwa Ibom State Government has declared that it is totally and completely opposed to the water resources bill.
The state Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, in a chat with The PUNCH, said the state government had instructed members of the National Assembly to reject the bill
On his part, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, vowed to sue the National Assembly members if the bill was passed.
Ortom lamented the recycling policies aimed to help herdsmen.
He stated, “Let me say this, if the National Assembly passes the Water Resources Bill which was sent as an executive bill by the President, I will take them to court. Water Bill will not be accepted here in Benue State.”
READ MORE BREAKING NIGERIAN NEWS ON ABOKIFX