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Benue gov, Ortom, threatens to sue FG, NASS over proposed water bill

Some billions allegedly disappear from Benue’s N14.9bn Paris Club refunds

The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has threatened to drag the Federal Government of Nigeria and the National Assembly to court over any continued deliberation on the National Water Resources Bill.

Governor Ortom issued the threat on Monday when he hosted the new leadership of Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, an umbrella body of Tiv speaking persons across the world, in Makurdi.

He also called on the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe the funds expended on the aborted Ruga policy for which billions of Naira was expended.

Ortom said; “A bill that was out rightly rejected in 2018 cannot be passed through the back door. It will not be accepted in Benue State. I enquired from members of the National Assembly from Benue and none of them accepted that the bill was returned when it was rejected in 2018.

“I told them it is wickedness as 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.

READ ALSO: Like Soyinka, Gov Ortom kicks against water bill, says its plot to grab lands for herdsmen

“What they are doing is against the Constitution, the Land Use Act is in the constitution and the only way to amend it is through constitutional review, which two third of the states will endorse before it comes into effect. So, if the National Assembly continues hearing on the bill, I will take them to court. It is very wrong and we will not continue to keep quiet on things that affect our land and our people. We cannot allow this injustice to continue in our country and we keep quiet.

“That law will not be accepted in Benue State because we have Rivers Katsina/Ala and Benue which we will not allow anybody take away from us for the purpose of grazing cattle. It is a disgrace to this country that even in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT; cattle have been allowed to take over our major roads, hindering free traffic flow. It is what we experience anytime you get to Abuja. It is shameful and my question is why are we not ranching our cattle?

“For our people, that bill is not acceptable and being a government that is committed to the well-being of our people, because we were elected by Benue people and not by Abuja or any other person, our primary responsibility is to do what Benue people want which is also my definition of democracy.

“So, I wonder why anybody would want to hate me for doing what my people want. The people are my backbone, so my loyalty and commitment remains with them and I will continue to do what they want. “I apologise to the people who are not happy with me for standing with the people. The fact is that I do not have a choice,” he concluded.

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