Dissenting voices against the federal government’s waterway bill sent to the National Assembly are becoming deafening in Akwa Ibom state as a coalition of groups under the aegis of Triple Force, comprising of former officials of the People Democratic Party, ex PDP councilors and forum of former transition secretaries, have joined the state government and the South-south governors to kick against the proposed bill.
The group described the bill as a “backdoor attempt” to re-introduce the long abrogated onshore-offshore dichotomy.
Briefing journalists in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, the Secretary-General of the coalition, Elder Matthew Okono, accused the federal government of having something up its sleeves in the quest to control water resources in the country which invariably includes mineral resources found offshore.
”The proposed bill is among other things a grand agenda to surreptitiously annex ancestral lands and homes of farmers and owners and depriving them of the assets and endowments inherent in the land and waters.
“This attempt to introduce a hydra-headed law that will further take away powers exercised by states smacks of poor articulation and deliberate mischief,” he said.
The group further alleged that the bill was targeted to deprive the Niger Delta region of their God-given blessings in the water, despite enormous contributions of almost 90 per cent to the economic fortunes of the country.
According to them, “We wish to completely align ourselves with the decision of the Governors of the South-south states to reject the bill in its entirety. Conscious of the consequences, we hereby call on the leadership and members of the National Assembly to reject the poorly thought out bill that will worsen the situations of our beloved country if passed into law.”