Joseph Jibueze, Deputy News Editor
THE Niger Delta will resist the National Water Resources Bill 2020 “with every iota of its might”, a group, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), said yesterday.
It made its position known after an emergency meeting.
The controversial bill has been criticised since it was presented at the House of Representatives.
Among others, it seeks to place the control of all water and its resources solely at the hands of the Federal Government.
UNDEDSS, in a statement by its Secretary General, Mr. Tony Uranta, said: “The Federal Government must realise that no part of Nigeria is a conquered province and that the erstwhile insults heaped on the Niger Delta must end forthwith.”
The group warned that should the Federal Government not show a willingness within 14 days “to dynamically embrace the region, via its leaders, it shall withdraw from the unilateral ceasefire in the region, which it helped broker, and leave the Federal Government to get itself out of the morass that will ensue”.
UNDEDSS believes the Niger Delta region has been the whipping boy of Nigeria for too long.
The statement added: “Whenever any national leader wants to appear to be serious about the war against corruption, the focus is the Niger Delta, its governors et al.
“Then you will hear questions like: ‘What have you used the 13 per cent derivative for?’ Nobody asks what has been derived from the 87 per cent that goes to the rest of the country, even though over 95 per cent of revenues come from our bastardised and despoliated waters and land!”
He said while the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has come under fire over allegations of corruption, acts of malfeasance in other agencies are swept under the carpet.
“Now, to rub insult into our injuries, the Federal Government thinks we shall let it take over our ancestral waters and lands.
“They may rig the National Assembly, but we shall call on every ally within and outside the country to resist these diabolical amendments!
“Many forget how far-reaching our tentacles are inside and outside Nigeria. May we never need to remind them.
“Appointments are made onto bodies that exist ostensibly for the region’s good without inputs from our key political, traditional or socio-cultural leaders, and even the NDDC still has Board members who are not even remotely connected to the region.”