Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has accused lawmakers of using the National Water Resources Bill as a means of creating grazing areas for Fulani herdsmen.
Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka had last week kicked against the introduction of the water bill.
SportyWap News reports that Section 13 of the Bill, states thus:
“In implementing the principles under subsection (2) of this section, the institutions established under this Act shall promote integrated water resources management and the coordinated management of land and water resources, surface water and groundwater resources, river basins and adjacent marine and coastal environment and upstream and downstream interests.”
In a statement by his media aide, Tever Akase, Governor Ortom wondered why the bill was reintroduced when it was rejected in 2018 by the 8th Assembly.
He said: “The Governor is convinced that those pushing for the passage of the bill at all costs have a surreptitious motive which is not yet clear to other Nigerians.
“The bill, in addition to its provisions which are at variance with the Land Use Act, is a disguised land-grabbing legislation designed to grant pastoralists unhindered access to river basins, adjacent marine and coastal environments across the country.
“The Governor maintains that the bill is another version of Ruga which objective is to create grazing areas in the 36 states of the federation for herders and their livestock.”
While commending various groups for speaking against the reintroduction of the bill, the Benue governor urged lawmakers to act as true representatives of the people for the sake of posterity, and to remember that the destiny of the country lies in their hands.