President, Ijaw Community Law Centre, an environmental right activist and a legal practitioner, Dortimi Tawari, has urged the National Assembly to throw the controversial Water Resources Bill recently re-introduced into the dust-bin, saying that the bill is anti-people and will deny Nigerians of their identities.
Barr. Tawari opined rather than concentrating on true federalism, the Bill is anti-federal but unitary, adding that if passed into law, it will take Nigerians back to the old days of unitary system of government where everything is concentrated at the centre (Federal Government).
He made the assertion in Benin City, Edo State while enlightening journalists on what the Bill entails, said Water Resources Bill is an indirect way of introducing Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) and Cattle Colony.
According to him, when passed into law, the Act will automatically incorporate the Land Use Act of 1978, making every land owned by communities and state governments to be ceded to the federal government.
The legal practitioner said part of the bill ‘Indicate that the Delta of River Niger, and everything therein belongs to the federal government.
“This is an indirect way of re-introducing RUGA and the cattle colony. When RUGA was introduced, it died; when cattle colony thing came it also died. This is the last thing to do. “Section 158 reads: Any natural or man-made water, flowing or standing on the surface of the land, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs, lagoons, wetland, swamps, creeks, deltas, etc belong to the federal government. So, with this, everything is gone.
“Because of the ulterior motive behind the bill, it was sneaked into the National Assembly through the back door and was not made public until some members including the Speaker of the House of Representatives insisted that it should be made public.
“They are amending the Nigerian constitution without us knowing. This is because by extension, the Land Use Act of 1978 is incorporated into this Bill.”
Barr. Dortimi Tawari noted that if Nigerians allow the Bill to see the light of the day, “it will be more powerful than your state government; it is like creating another country entirely inside a country.”