The traditional monarchs in the Badagry division area of Lagos state have kicked against the contentious water resources bill recently re-introduced by the current National Assembly.
Newsnowonline reports that monarchs led by the Akran of Badagry, HRM De-Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, expressed their anger over the bill on Tuesday, September 6, during a press briefing at the palace of the traditional ruler.
The bill, as re-introduced by the current House of Representatives, seeks to empower the federal government to control all water resources in the country, such as rivers, streams, lakes and underground water.
It would be recalled that Senate had, in 2018 rejected the bill on account of its unpopularity across the country.
The opponents of the bill had pointed out that if passed into law, it would hinder the current move towards devolution of powers.
Reacting to the bill, the traditional rulers called on the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to stop what they termed as the “anti-people, obnoxious bill.”
Speaking on behalf of the Akran of Badagry, De Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, HRM (Dr.) Oladele Fayemi Kosoko, described the bill as a wicked way to grab their lands through obnoxious legislation.
He said it is on record that the same bill was thrown out by the 8th Assembly, adding that it speaks volumes of the desperation of the people “who are planning this invasion of our land under the guise of repressive legislation.”
The traditional rulers noted that the bill is an affront and a deliberate encroachment of their ancestral land and heritage, saying that they were not unmindful of its brazen disregard for the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
He said:”It is noteworthy that there are tons of inconsistencies and contradictions in the proposed bill with existing judicial pronouncement and provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended).
“Governor Duoye Diri was unequivocal when the Federal Government delegation visited him recently. The Bayelsa state Governor told the delegation point blank that the Water Resources Bill was unnecessary and an attempt to further create more tension.
“Governor Diri stated that while the people of Nigeria are clamouring for a restructuring that will devolve more power to the state, the federal government is attempting to create more problems through the bill that was thrown out by the 8th Assembly, wondering why the FG is so fixated about the bill. We resist any form of land grabbing in Badagry division.
Having registered their grievances over the re-introduction of the bill, the monarch resolved that:
“We resist any form of Land grabbing by some persons or group of persons by FG through the legislation. We believe the proposed bill is to serve the interest and purpose of Fulani herders.
“We also kick against any delineation and boundary adjustment without recourse to the provisions of the law. We want Nigerians to be aware of the executive rascality through brazen disregard to the rule of law and judiciary.
“We will also like the general public to know that this legislation is a template for arms strive as it will be a conquest for resource (natural) control; land and water. Instance shall be the insurgency promoted by the quest for control of Lake Chad around the Lake Chad basin.
“No one will take our lands. We are against the proposed legislation and want the House of Representatives to stop further deliberations on the repressive and draconian bill.”
In his contributions, the Baale of Ere- Ekiti, Chief Peter Gani, said the bill is causing more tension in the country than peace.
He said the basic essence of the law is to bring about peace and tranquility and not vice versa, calling on the National Assembly to throw the bill into the dustbin.
Chief Gani said: “We need peace in our country. Some people will be evacuated from their real aborigines if that bill is allowed to fly. If they are trying to pass law to create tension in the country, that will contradict their job as members who should be creating laws to bring peace and order in the country.”
Also speaking, the Baale of Tohon, Chief Adeoye Sotin, said it is a slap on the average Nigerians to see the bill being reintroduced by the members of the House of Representatives.
He said:”The two Houses – Senate and House of Representatives threw out the bill during the 8th NASS. For this bill to come up again, it is a slap on average Nigerians.
“We want the FG to stop this without further delay. This will make nonsense out of our situation. We don’t want the bill passed into law.”