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Ohanaeze rejects National Water Resources Bill, so do most Nigerians–Achi-Okpaga

* Says Igbo legislators united against obnoxious bill

From RAY EJIKEME, Enugu

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization has, again, declared its opposition to the National Water resources Bill, describing it as obnoxious, anti-people, unitary and totally against the tenets of federalism.

Reacting to the Federal Government’s declaration that there was no going back on the proposed bill, Acting General Secretary and National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga said any decision concerning people’s land should not be made without involving the States which constitute the federating units, assuring that Ohanaeze would mobilise Igbo senators to resist its passage.

“We don’t know whether they have a different meaning of the word federation in their dictionary. If Nigeria is a federation, it means that there are federating units; that’s the states. The States and Federal Government should sit in a roundtable and take decisions; the federal government should not be lording it over the States. They can’t be making such a bill without input from the States,” Achi-Okpaga said.

Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, Acting National Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo

“Must the federal government take over everything; you take over water resources and all that; very soon they will take over our families. You take everything away from the people; where would the people come from? Every land belongs to the States and the federal government wants to take the waterways; what will the people own?

“Nigerians have rejected this bill; and if they want to bring it back again, Nigerians will still reject it unless they want to put the country in turmoil; because when you lord it over the people, there is bound to be tension and it will ignite violence in the unsettled communities. There are so much tension and crises in Nigeria already that we don’t need to add more.

“However, for the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is steadfast on its stand and we have continued to reach out to our representatives in the National Assembly. You can’t continue to lord it over us saying that there’s no going back as if Nigeria belongs to one man. We don’t even know whether they are thinking at all about implementation of the law when they finish because a law you can’t implement is dead on arrival.”

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