Crisis looms, Labour, Civil Society groups moblise against National Water Resources bill, warn lawmakers

.Say it’s anti-people

By Valentine Amanze

Nigerians all over the world have been appealed to close ranks and fight the planned privatization of water in the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.

The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and other civil society groups made the appeal at a press conference at the weekend to review the National Water Bill, sponsored by the Presidency.

In a paper titled, “Jettison National Water Resources Bill Now!” the group recalled that the bill was thrown out by the nation’s eighth assembly and wondered why the Presidency reintroduced it as an Executive Bill in 2020.

They called on Nigerians to resist the planned bill, stressing that was anti-people, repugnant, suspicious, obnoxious and intolerable.

The group pointed out that access to water was the right of every citizen and cautioned against its privatization.

According to the group, privatization of any kind has not benefited any common Nigeria, while wondering why the government wants to inflict more injuries to the pauperized citizens.

The National president, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees (AUPCTRE), Comrade Benjamin Anthony, disclosed that there was a hidden conspiracy behind the bill, adding that it was fraught with contentious sections and with no public interest.

“They must withdraw the bill because we are going to adequately mobilise the civil society and the entire country to resist it. We can’t take it, it is evil, and the bill is not even good for amendment and should be thrown away.

“There was no stakeholders’ engagement, and it is tailored to make Nigerians miserable. We must collaborate, unite, and engage to take our right back.

“Our water is our right, it is our human right, we will dare government if they do not jettison this bill because they cannot contain what they will see. There is no transparency in it, it has a lot of flaws” he warned.

The activist also said that the surreptitious plot to ram it through the legislature speaks volume for some hidden agenda but vowed to mobilise the entire well-meaning citizens in mass unrest that the government would not be able to contain.
Also Akinbode Oluwafemi of Corporate Accountability Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) noted that the bill was arbitrarily reintroduced in the Green Chambers, just as he called on Nigerian “to rise up and defend their human right to water.

“They arbitrarily reintroduced it in the Green Chambers, in breach of its rules, legislative convention and the provisions of the 1999 constitution before the House adjourned for a two-month recess on Thursday, July 23, 2020. We think that the National Assembly would do well to again trash this detestable bill in the public interest to save the country from avoidable disaster.

“Our so-called representatives of the people should better let the sleeping dog lie to avoid another round of crisis in our already volatile polity because we cannot accept it and the patience, as well as the good nature of the Nigerian people, should not be tried. They should remember that when Nigerians are mobilised to fight for their right no government power can stop them. They fought the military and we are ready again if the government continues to show insensitivity.”

Also, Comrade Musa Ukpo, said the National Assembly “must trash this bill or be ready to face the consequences of their action with massive protest and revolt from the people. Enough is enough of this nonsense.”

Recall that when the bill was first introduced in the 8th Senate, it generated intense controversy across the country and was rejected in 2018 due to its desire to have the federal government take control of lands and water resources in the country.

News Category: