Onuesoke Mobilises against Proposed National Water Resources Bill

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Sunny Onuesoke

By Sylvester Idowu

Managing Director of DAS Energy Services, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has urged Nigerians to speak out against the House of Representatives proposed National Water Resources Bill 2020.

Onuesoke who made the call yesterday revealed that the Bill, if allowed to sail through, would vest the power over all water sources across the federation in the hands of the Executive.

He appealed to freedom loving Nigerians to resist the move to grab land around waterways for cattle herders by the Executive Arm of Government.

The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, who described the move as decoy to advance the interests of the cattle-herding population, recalled that the Bill when first introduced last year by the Presidency had generated controversy across the country, because of its desire to have the federal government take charge of lands and water resources in the country.

According to him, “Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila, had raised concerns over the piece of legislation on July 23, querying that “Is this not the same Bill that generated controversy in the Media.” He added that Gbajabiamila, however, allowed the Bill to pass when the Chairman, Rules and Business, Hon. Abubakar Fulata who presented the Bill convinced him otherwise.

Onuesoke argued that The Bill entitled: ‘National Water Resources Bill, 2020’, was arbitrarily reintroduced in the Green Chamber, in breach of its rules, legislative convention and provisions of the 1999 Constitution before the House adjourned for a two-month recess on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

“The reintroduced bill, though was negatived by the 8th Senate, headed by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Rep. Yakubu Dogara-led 8th House, passed it. But the unpopular piece of legislation hadn’t secured the concurrence of the Senate and the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari, before that Assembly elapsed in June last year.

“Recall that on Thursday, July 23, 2020, the House had, referring to Order 12, Rule 18 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, 9th Edition, passed the National Water Resources Bill, 2020 and committed it to a “Committee of the Whole”, for third reading and final passage,” he disclosed.

Onuesoke argued that the referral of the said Bill to the Committee of the Whole, however, breaches Order 12 Rule 16 of the Standing Orders of the House which states that such a Bill from a preceding Assembly be gazetted and clean copies circulated, stressing that investigations have revealed that the Bill was neither gazetted nor cleaned copies circulated to members, before it was committed on Thursday, July 23 for passage, in breach of the rules of the House. Order 12 Rule 18.