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Rights Group Lashes Out At Buhari, IGP Over Owerri Attacks

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A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the Federal Government and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu for their comments on the attacks in Owerri, Imo State.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, HURIWA said it was concerned with the recent attacks in most parts of the South East of Nigeria and in other places such as in Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States.

It said that it was wrong for Buhari to refer to the attackers in Owerri as terrorists while referring to attackers in the north as bandits.
It said: “We are particularly concerned with the pattern and methodology of these attacks and the ease with which the attackers carry out these dastardly and cowardly , criminal acts and then disappear into thin air only for the Nigerian Police Force to start their empty media propaganda and to hang onto the most untested and ridiculous claim that so far is not evidence based- which is to quickly blame the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra.”

It lamented that the Buhari government “has since 2015 openly confessed pathological hatred for the Igbo speaking people of the South East of Nigeria.

The president in his first- ever international media interview told the world that the Igbo and South South gave him 5% of votes and so he will not treat the Igbo the same way as the North that gave him 95%. True to his word, he has given all the strategic security posts to the Moslem Hausa/Fulani North.

“The president did not trust sons and daughters of the South East of Nigeria enough to assign one of the topmost internal security jobs even when by merit there are several qualified Igbo speaking officers.”

HURIWA fumed at the ease with which the IGP blamed the Owerri attacks on IPOB while he is silent when Fulani herdsmen kill in the south east.

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BREAKING: Tinubu, PDP’s G5 Members Meet In Aso Rock

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President Bola Tinubu and the members of G5 or the Integrity Group of the Peoples’ Democratic Party )PDP) met at the Aso Villa, Abuja.

The G5 group, led by one serving governor and four former governors caused a major division within the Peoples Democratic Party after demanding the then National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu step down for a southern replacement as a precondition to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar in the February 25 poll.

Both Atiku and Ayu called the then governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.

Makinde and Wike reportedly played supportive roles to Tinubu ensure his victory at the February 25, presidential election.

Those at the meeting are Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state as well as former Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

The current governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah was also present.

Tinubu had met with Wike and Makinde some times since his election and inauguration.

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Govt Declares June 12 Public Holiday To Mark Democracy Day

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President Bola Tinubu

The Federal Government on Thursday declared Monday, June 12, 2023 a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day.

Disclosing this in a statement, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade congratulated all Nigerians on the occasion.

She said: “Nigeria’s democratic journey has, like in many other climes, encountered both stormy and smooth sails, but the ship of State, its institutions and most importantly, the Nigerian people have remained steadfast on the tenets of democratic governance.

“On this memorable occasion therefore, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are invited to appreciate the progress that has been made, celebrate the milestones covered and look forward to a better future for the country’s democracy.

“The Permanent Secretary wishes all Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day celebration”.

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Senate Rejects Controversial Water Bill

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Senate President Ahmed Lawan

The controversial National Water Resources Bill, 2023 has been rejected by the Senate.

The bill was lined up for concurrence in the order paper but was rejected by the majority of the senators.

This brings an end to the controversy by governors and the federal lawmakers particularly those from the Southern part of the country.

When the bill was read for concurrence on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Senator Gabriel Suswan from Benue North West, raised Order 85 of the Senate Rules which provides that Senators must have full details of the provisions of any bill coming for concurrence.

Senator James Manager from Delta South, who seconded Senator Suswan’s point of order, also stressed the need to have details of the bill since provision was made for only the title of bill.

The Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who later ruled in favour of the rule cited, adjourned the plenary for the day.

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had passed the bill in 2020 amidst suspicion by members and the general public that the proposal had sinister motives.

Before the passage, the chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, said the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as commissioners for justice and attorneys-general of the 36 states of the federation had been consulted and the opinions received would be attached to the bill and distributed to all members.

To buttress the suspicion of some members of the public, a member of the House from Benue State, Mark Gbillah, raised the alarm when the bill was to be taken for the first reading.

Only the short title of a bill is written on the Order Paper for first reading, while a long title, which has more details, is written when listed for second reading.

Gbillah said, “I am aware that the matter listed for first reading, the National Water Resources Bill, generated a lot of controversy within this honourable House and even across the country, and some of us wonder why this issue is still being represented on the floor of the House, because some of us are not comfortably in support of this bill in the first instance Mr Speaker. I thought I should bring that to the notice of the Right Honourable Speaker.”

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who admitted that Gbillah “raised a very cogent point,” noted that Nigeria is a very diverse country and everybody’s sensitivity must be taken into consideration.

Gbillah, however, disagreed with the Speaker, stating that the lawmakers were duly elected and given the mandate to represent the interests of their constituents.

He said, “Whatever the governors might have agreed upon may not be acceptable to us. It is we that have those powers as enshrined in the Constitution to enact legislation that will be binding on this country.”

There were fireworks in the House on September 29, 2020, with some members, mostly from the southern part of the country, raising various legal and procedural issues against the bill.”

The then President, Muhammadu Buhari, had in 2017 presented the controversial bill to both chambers of the National Assembly, which seeks to transfer the control of water resources from the states to the federal government.

The legislation was titled, “A Bill for An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, Provide for the Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment, Management, Use and Conservation of Nigeria’s Surface Water and Groundwater Resources and for Related Matters.”

The summary of the bill reads, “This Act repeals the Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004; River Basin Development Act Cap R9 LFN 2004; Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N110A, LFN,2004; National Water Resources Institute Act Cap N83 LFN 2004; and establishes the National Council on Water Resources, Nigeria Water Resources Regulatory Commission, River Basin Development Authorities, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, and the National Water Resources Institute.”

The proposed bodies, if established, will “provide for the regulation, equitable and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface water and groundwater resources.”

Though the 8th House managed to pass the bill, the controversy had frustrated passage of the bill by the Senate, as the Red Chamber on May 24, 2018, considered the executive bill for second reading, during which senators were divided across regional lines.

While Northern Senators had supported the proposal and its objectives, their Southern counterparts had opposed it.

Those opposed to the bill had pointed out that the bill, if passed into law, would further centralise power and resources of the country. This, they pointed out, would counter the move towards devolution of power domiciled with the federal government.

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