The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Monday cautioned against the Water Resources Bill.
HURIWA, a frontline pro-democracy group warned that the bill will cause another civil war in Nigeria.
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The right group issued the warning while condemning the current National Assembly for their penchant in introducing “obnoxious, draconian and imperialistic anti-people’s legislation, with emphasis on the reintroduction of the Bill On Natural Resources aimed at stripping Southern Littoral states of their control of Water Resources.”
A statement signed by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and Miss. Zainab Yusuf, Director; National Media Affairs reads partly: “Evidently, the legislative and regulatory agenda of the present NASS as illustrated in several of their proposed legislations appear to be aimed at attacking freedom of speech, civil space and to abrogate property and economic rights.
“Just like the Companies and Allied Maters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020), an otherwise necessary and important legislation that has become divisive, the National Water Resources bill has also strayed into our delicate fault-lines and lost in the brackish waters of Nigeria’s recurrent political criticisms.
“The president should be worried that almost all his important policies have continued to energize certain concealed instincts in our society. And that Nigerians now appear incapable of having any decent conversation without resorting to ethnicity and religion.
“All factors considered, therefore, this National Water Resources bill is obnoxious, draconic and imperialistic. Conceived in a time of mutual suspicions, promoted by divisive interests and opposed by the current politics of ethno-religious distrust in the country and should be jettisoned.
“This bill on water resources if not discontinued could result in civil war if not now, then sooner rather than later because it is not possible to take over the natural water resources of the indigenous people in the South and hand them over to strangers under the guise of the central government controlling these water resources.”
With criticisms coming at Buhari left, right and centre, the President has given his reason for deciding to increase petrol and electricity prices.
Buhari through Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the ministerial performance review retreat, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic as reason for the increase in petrol pump price.
He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a severe downturn in the funds available to finance our budget and has severely hampered our capacity.
“One of the steps we took at the beginning of the crisis in March when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown was the deregulation of the price of Premium Motor Spirit such that the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers.
“This was welcome by all and sundry. The effect of deregulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices.
“This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover we would see some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now. When global prices rose, it meant that the price of petrol locally will also go up.
“There are several negative consequences if government should even attempt to go back to the business of fixing or subsidising PMS prices.
“First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime. Today we have 60 per cent less revenues, we just cannot afford the cost.
“The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration.
“We do not have the resources at this point to continue in this way and it will be grossly irresponsible to borrrow to subsidise a generation and distribution which are both privatised.
“But we also have a duty to ensure that the large majority of those who cannot afford to pay cost reflective tariffs are protected from increases.
“NERC, the industry regulator, therefore approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service.”