ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri has condemned the National Water Resources Bill currently before the National Assembly, saying that the Federal Government emasculates the states’ resources and gives them peanuts.
According to him, the bill would have adverse effect on the predominantly maritime state if it is passed into law.
Governor Diri also described as draconian, the National Water Resources Bill, saying it would be unfair and unjust to introduce the water resources bill when oil-producing states were still agitating for a fair deal from their oil and gas resources.
Diri stated this on Friday when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack and her team paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Governor Diri said, “The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, would have more negative impact on us as we are a mainly maritime environment.
“Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the federal government is trying to introduce a water resources law at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal. This bill is tantamount to stifling us. The federal government is on our neck and we cannot breathe anymore.
“We are running a federal government where you do not centralize resources or political power. It is where you run a unitary system of government that those kinds of draconian bills can come.
“But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to expropriate their resources and pay taxes to the federal government.
“They emasculate the states’ resources and then give peanuts to them. They still turn around to say the states are not performing. How can they perform when you take away all their resources?”
On the issue of ending open defecation, the governor assured that under the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project, his administration would collaborate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stop the menace, as it is one of the indices of development.
He noted that some of the initiatives the state government had put in place to end the era of open defecation include the setting up of the Bayelsa State Council for Water Resources and approval of N250 million for the WASH project this year.
The Governor also directed the Commissioner for Water Resources to ensure that the 3.6 million-litre federal government water scheme at Otuoke is resuscitated, adding that the Yenagoa, Ovom and Okaka water stations had been rehabilitated.
Earlier, the Minister of Water Resources, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, said in 2019, a national campaign was launched to end open defecation in the country.
The minister said this was critical to achieving sustainable development goal number six on water and sanitation.