Water Resources Bill: RUGA, All Over Again

Nigeria’s national assembly is fiddling with a bill that will, when signed into law, deny natives across the country ownership of the lands close to all rivers. Three kilometres of all land bordering all rivers will be nationalized. 
Dubbed “Water Resources Bill”, the idea was first rejected in 2018 by the senate but has just been re-introduced. 
People see this as a direct way to take fertile land from farmers in the middle Belt and the South and hand them over to Herdsmen who are from Muhammadu Buhari’s tribe. It will also hurt fishing and allied businesses. It is a not -too subtle way to resettle the often violent herders.
Samuel Ortom is governor of Benue state. He has come under flack for his position on the subject which caused him to switch parties last year.
Monday, Mr Ortom condemned the re-introduction of the bill. “I told them it is wickedness, you want to control the waterways and extend it to about three kilometers radius which means that even Benue Government House that is close to River Benue will be removed or taken over”.
 Nigeria “is doomed” if the bill is passed into law, according to Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate. “The National Water Resources bill is a deliberate, flanking move towards RUGA colonisation.

“It must be resisted across board. No compromising or this nation is doomed since it will be resisted by any and all means.”

In 2018, the senate was able to rejected the idea but things have changed. The current national assembly has been accused of being a toothless rubber stamp of Mr Buhari’s government. 
 In 2018, current deputy senate president, for instance,  Ovie Omo-Agege, led an armed assault on the senate and “stole the mace”.  His current job, some say, is a reward. 
And the speaker of House of Representatives had to convert to Islam from a Christian elder. 
Add to this, Nigerians are so traumatized by other daily worries that they are unaware of the bill. Those who are, don’t know what it means. 
This collective laxity and ignorance only help those behind the move.
In the summer of last year, Abba Kyari, Mr Buhari’s omnipotent chief of staff at the time, had to “suspend” a similar scheme, Rural Grazing Area, RUGA when the outrage became too vitriolic. 
It remains to be seen how seriously Nigerians will take this threat to their lives and future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *