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Water Resources Bill: Re-introduction Of RUGA, Cattle Colony, ‘Kill’ It, Activist Urges NASS

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Dotimi Tawari Esq. handing over a copy of the Bill to Edo NUJ Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe

A legal practitioner and President, Ijaw Community Law Centre, Dotimi Tawari, has urged the National Assembly to throw the controversial Water Resources Bill recently re-introduced into the dust-bin, arguing that if they let go, it will deny Nigerians of their identities and ‘kill’ them.

He said rather than concentrating on true federalism, the Bill is anti-federal but unitary, adding that if passed into law, it will take Nigerians back to the old days of unitary system of government where everything is concentrated at the centre (Federal Government)

The lawyer and environmental rights activist who made these assertions in Benin, Monday, where he enlightened journalists on what the Bill entails, said Water Resources Bill is an indirect way of introducing Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) and Cattle Colony.

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According to him, when passed into law, the Act will automatically incorporate the Land Use Act of 1978, and that every land owned by communities and state governments would be ceded to the Federal Government.

He reads the Bill in part: “The Delta of River Niger, and everything therein belongs to the Federal Government.

“This is an indirect way of re-introducing RUGA, the cattle colony thing, this is it. When they brought RUGA, it died, when they brought cattle colony thing, it died, this is the last thing they want to do.”

He continued: “Section 158 reads: Any natural or man-made water, flowing or standing on the surface of the land, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs, lagoons, wetland, creeks, Deltas, etc belongs to the Federal Government. Everything is gone.”

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READ ALSO: One Dead, Others Injured In Delta Community Crisis

According to him, because of the interior motive behind the Bill, it was sneaked into the National Assembly through back door and was not make public until some members including the Speaker of the House of Representatives insisted that it should be made public.

READ ALSO: I’ll Leave Our Enemies, Finish You First, Wike Tells Rivers PDP Rebels

He added: “They are amending the Nigerian constitution without us knowing. This is because by extension, the Land Use Act of 1978 is incorporated into this Bill.”

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The environmental rights activist noted that if Nigerians allow the Bill to see the light of the day “it will be more powerful than your state government; it is like creating another country entirely inside a country.”

He, therefore, urged media practitioners to rise to their social responsibility of enlightening members of the public on the ills of the Bill.

He added: “And that is why we say members of the press must rise to this responsibility. Your constitutional role is to be a watch dog, so make sure this bill does not see the light of the day. Because if it does, we lost our identities completely.”

On his part, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Edo State council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, urged the legal practitioner to take the enlightenment to other NUJ state councils in the South-South and South-East with a view to opening journalists’ eyes to the proposed Bill so they too can in return enlighten members of the public.

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While thanking the environmental rights activist for the enlightenment, the Chairman appealed to his colleagues to give publicise to the Bill with a view for Nigerians to knowing much about it and taking the necessary steps.

 

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Emirship Tussle: Court Restrains Ado-Bayero, 4 Others From Acting As Emirs

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A Kano State High Court, on Monday, granted a perpetual injunction restraining the 15th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, and four other dethroned emirs of Bichi, Rano, Gaya and Karaye from parading themselves as emirs.

The applicants are the Attorney General of Kano State, the Speaker Kano State House of Assembly and the Kano State House of Assembly, who through their counsel Ibrahim Isah-Wangida Esq, filed a motion exparte dated May 27.

The applicants sought a court order restraining Ado-Bayero, and Four other dethroned emirs of Bichi, Rano, Gaya and Karaye from parading themselves as emirs.

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The respondents are: Ado-Bayero, Alhaji Nasiru Ado-Bayero Bichi emir, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar ll, emir of Karaye, Alhaji Kabiru Muhammad-Inuwa, emir of Rano and Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim-Gaya, emir of Gaya.

READ ALSO: Emirate Tussle: Flag Of Authority Hoisted At Aminu Ado Bayero’s Mini Palace

Others are the Inspector General of Police, Director of State Security Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigeria Army.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Amina Adamu-Aliyu, held that the Kano State House of Assembly had powers to amend and propose a bill for the peace and good governance of a state under section 4 rule 6,7(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

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The Kano State Governor has the right to ascent the proposed bill to law after being passed by the state assembly.”

The court also restrained the Police and other security agencies from violating, disobeying or tempering the Kano State Emirate (Repeal) Law 2024.

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The deposed Emirs shall surrender all movable and immovable properties in their possession that belong to the Kano State Emirate Council to the state government” Adamu-Aliyu said.

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She held that the first respondent legal counsel withdrawal without notice to other parties is unprofessional and that moving their motion is as good as not filing it since it has been abandoned.

The judge said the act of the 6th to 9 respondent for smuggling the first respondent to Kano after the enactment of the Emirate Repeal Law 2024 disregards what they have sworn for the protection of life and property.

Earlier, Counsel to the applicant, Mr Ibrahim Isa-Wangida, urged the court to discount the respondent’s affidavit of facts under order 39 rules 1 and 2 of the Court.

READ ALSO: Jubilation As. Oba Of Benin Receives Two Looted Artefacts, US Custodian Apologises

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Counsel to Ado-Bayero, Mr Abdul Muhammed SAN, informed the court that they have an affidavit of fact dated July 3, 2024, attached with a notice of appeal and a motion of stay of proceedings.

He urged the court to stay of proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the motion at the appeal court.

NAN reports that Ado-Bayero’s counsel on July 4, withdrew their legal services before the court.

Counsel to the 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents, Hassan Tanko-Kyaure, moved his application for an extension of time dated July 2 and counter affidavit in response to the originating motion.

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He urged the court to set aside the Kano State Emirates Council (Repeal) law 2024, adding that due process were not followed and urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s application with a cost of N1 billion.

Counsel to the Inspector/General of Police, Mr Sunday Ekwe, told the court that he had nothing to present.

NAN reports that the applicants, 3,4and 5th respondents moved their applications, for extension of time, notice of preliminary objection, setting aside exparte order, joinder application, examining deponent, application for the Judge to recuse herself and originating summon.

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NAN reports that the State House of Assembly on May 23, dissolved all the four newly created Emirate council’s in the state and Gov. Abba Kabir-Yusuf, reappointed Lamido Sanusi, as the Emir of Kano.

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Otuaro Repositioning PAP; Detractors Steer Clear – Rivers Monarch, Ateke Tom Cautions

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HRM Ateke Tom (left) and Dr Dennis Otuaro during the visit at the weekend

The king of Okochiri Kingdom in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers State, His Royal Majesty, Ateke Tom, has cautioned detractors of the Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Dr Dennis Otuaro, to stop their distractive activities and allow him (Otuaro) to concentrate on his job.

The first-class monarch gave the warning when the PAP boss visited him at his palace in Okochiri at the weekend, according to a statement by Special Assistant on Media to the PAP Administrator, Mr Igoniko Oduma.

The Royal Father, while hailing Otuaro for the achievements so far in the PDP, stressed that the PAP boss had demonstrated that he has the capacity to pilot the affairs of the programme.

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He noted that Otuaro had quietly carried out well-thought-out reforms to reposition the PAP for better and quality service delivery.

READ ALSO: PAP Boss, Otuaro, Calls For Unity, Promises To Capture Stakeholders Not Captured

In his response, Otuaro, while describing Okochiri as an ancient kingdom in Ijaw land, explained that his visit to the traditional ruler was part of his ongoing consultations and engagements with critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta.

The PAP boss noted that King Tom was one of the major Niger Delta activists who was consistent with his advocacy for a better standard of living for the region.

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He thanked King Tom for his fatherly advice and words of encouragement, saying that he and members of his team were poised to continually render quality service in line with the renewed hope agenda of the President.

 

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Jubilation As. Oba Of Benin Receives Two Looted Artefacts, US Custodian Apologises

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It was a moment of jubilation and joy at the palace of Oba of Benin as Ewuare II on Monday, received two artefacts; a mother hen and a bronze plaque from the University of Iowa Museum, United States of America.

This would be the second time in two months that the monarch would receive returned artefacts.

On May 18, he received two artefacts from Germany which are among those looted from the palace in the 1897 invasion of the Benin Kingdom.

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The Oba, while receiving the items in his palace, said the immediate past president of the federation, President Muhammadu Buhari made the ownership of artefacts very clear through his gazette before he left office.

He alluded to some of the earlier ones returned to the palace which he said his forebears started the process but he was able to accomplish the feat when he ascended the throne.

The royal father said the artefacts were not just items but that they have spiritual implications which mortals cannot understand.

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He, therefore, appealed to the political leaders to help preserve the traditions and customs of the land.

Earlier, Mr. Cory Gundlach, the Curator, African Art of Stanley Museum, Iowa, United States of America, apologized to the Oba of Benin for using the artefacts as teaching materials in the University.

He also apologized on behalf of his other colleagues who have used the arts to teach thousands of students in the United States of America without the consent of the original owner.

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He assured the monarch of his determination to ensure that others that are kept elsewhere are returned to their original abode.

 

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