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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SANs, others warn Reps against illegality over Water Bill

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Senior lawyers, socio-political organizations and civil rights groups on Thursday described as unconstitutional, attempts by the House of Representatives to adopt the public hearing it conducted in the eighth assembly for the Water Resources Bill.

The legal practitioners and groups such as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and the Middle Belt Forum, in separate interviews with newsmen said the National Assembly should jettison the plan.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 presented the controversial bill to both chambers of the National Assembly.

The bill seeks to transfer the control of water resources from states to the Federal Government.

The bill was not only rejected by the public in 2018, but it was also not passed by the eighth National Assembly, whose members were divided over it.

But on July 23, 2020, the current Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, reintroduced the bill.

Despite the public outcry, he said a public hearing was held in the eighth Assembly on the bill, adding that no fresh one would be conducted.

He also lashed out at individuals and organizations that were opposed to the bill, saying inputs of civil rights groups were taken in the eighth assembly.

But two Senior Advocates of Nigeria said any attempt to reintroduce the bill, which was shut down by the eighth National Assembly without subjecting it to a public hearing, would be illegal.

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