By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has threatened to take the Federal Government to court if the National Assembly continues to deliberate on the National Water Resources Bill, which was rejected by the Assembly in 2018 but allegedly reintroduced.
The governor who unveiled his position on Monday when he hosted the new leadership of Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, a body that brings together Tiv-speaking people around the world, also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he investigated the funds spent on the aborted Ruga’s policy for which billions of naira were spent.
According to Governor Ortom, “A bill that was flatly rejected in 2018 cannot be passed through the back door. It will not be accepted in the state of Benue.
“I asked the members of the Benue National Assembly and none agreed that the bill was returned when it was rejected in 2018.
“I told them that it is evil, they want to control the waterways and extend them to a radius of about three kilometers, which means that even the Government House of Benue, which is near the Benue River, will be removed or taken.
“What they are doing is against the Constitution, the Land Use Law is in the constitution and the only way to amend it is through a constitutional review that two-thirds of the states will support before it goes into effect.
“So if the National Assembly continues to hear about the bill, I will take them to court. It is very bad and we will not continue to keep quiet about the things that affect our land and our people. We cannot allow this injustice to continue in our country and we remain silent.
“That law will not be accepted in the state of Benue because we have the Katsina / Ala and Benue rivers, which we will not allow anyone to take from us for the purpose of herding livestock.
“It is a shame for this country that even in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, cattle have been allowed to take over our main highways, preventing the free flow of traffic. It is what we experience every time we arrive in Abuja. It’s embarrassing and my question is why aren’t we raising our cattle?
“For our people, that bill is not acceptable and being a government committed to the welfare of our people, because we were elected by the people of Benue and not by Abuja or anyone else, our main responsibility is to do what the people do. de Benue wants that is also my definition of democracy.
“So I wonder why anyone would want to hate me for doing what my people want. People are my backbone, so my loyalty and commitment remain with them and I will continue to do what they want.
“I apologize to people who are not happy with me for being with people. The fact is, I don’t have a choice. “
In response, MUT President General, Comptroller of Prisons, Iorbee Ihagh (red) added his voice to Governor Ortom’s call to the National Assembly to reject the bill.