National Legislators Must Oppose This Executive Bill With All Means
” A BILL FOR AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR THE WATER RESOURCES SECTOR IN NIGERIA, PROVIDE FOR EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE REDEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT, USE AND CONSERVATION OF NIGERIA’S SURFACE WATER AND GROUNDWATER RESOURCES AND FOR RELATED MATTERS. “
This Bill, by its obnoxious content contained in sections( clauses) 1_5, depicts a subtle statutory scramble for the land resources in the riverine communities in Nigeria by the Buhari presidency for, without pretence, the rampaging killer-herdsmen. The said provisions are:
Section 1. “All surface water and ground water, wherever it occurs, is a resource common to all people, the use of which is subject to statutory control”.
2. “There shall be no private ownership of water but the right to use water in accordance with the provisions of this Act”.
3. “The right to use, manage and control of all surface water and ground water affecting more than one state pursuant to item 64 of the Exclusive Legislative list in part 1 of the second schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, and as set out in the First Schedule to this Act, together with the beds and banks, is vested in the Government of the Federation to be exercised in accordance with the provision of this Act.
4. “As the public trustee of the nation’s water resources, the Federal Government, acting through the minister, and the institutions created in this Act or pursuant to this Act, shall ensure that water resources of the nation are protected , used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner for the benefits of all persons and in accordance with its constitutional mandate.
5. “States make provisions for the management, use and control of water resources occurring solely within the boundaries of the state but shall be granted by the policy and principles of the Federal Government in relation to Integrated Water Resources Management and this Act”.
*The said bill is unconstitutional as it desperately intends not only to unlawfully manage and administer land resources without having regard to and respect for the statutory policy framework firmly established under the Land Use Act, but also to expropriate citizens in the affected areas of their customary titles without required constitutional due process.
*The bill, as it is, clearly amounts primarily to a regime of subtle take – over of all fertile, water- bearing Fadama in the Benue state Valley for the sole purpose of their subsequent allocation of the said resources to other persons of the President Buhari’s Choice, probably the Fulani herdsmen under the illogical premise of equitable re-distribution under the said Bill.
*The definition of “bank” of a river or body of water, that is, where it starts from and the distance it should be from a water body under the bill is deliberately left vague to allow for the take-over of land as the herdsmen may so wish and desires.
*The land comprised in the banks of rivers are privately owned and the impact of the bill is to unlawfully revoke such private rights of the inhabitants, and allocate them to the Fulani herdsmen in the case of Benue state . , *On the basis of this call, I respectfully use this occasion to appeal to distinguished Senator B. I. Gemade to have a rethink and withdraw his purported support for the said bill.
*The truth seems to be that having failed to take-over the Benue State Valley by the might of the herdsmen attacks and killings , the Bill has been crafted as a subtle way of accomplishing that agenda.
*Finally, this call serves also as a further notice to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and to Nigerian Senate to stop any further proceedings on the said bill that serves only the purpose of enslaving Nigerian citizens inhabiting the riverine areas in Benue State
Matthew Tile Nyiutsa Esq.