"Making another parallel law to contradict that law will not fail but will be met with still and overwhelming resistance," the group said.
The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) has vehemently opposed the proposed Water Resources Bill currently before the National Assembly, describing it as an attempt by the Nigerian government to appropriate their lands and water resources in flagrant disregard to existing laws.
The group made this known in a statement signed by Engr. Jator Abido, NDYC National Coordinator and its National Secretary, Comrade Kede Michael, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday.
"We make bold to state that we shall fight to finish in ensuring that our lands are not taken over by the federal government under any pretext.
"Going by the stipulations of the Land Use Act, all lands comprised in the territory of each state in the federation are vested in the Governor of that state, and such lands shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act. Making another parallel law to contradict that law will not fail but will be met with still and overwhelming resistance," the group said.
The youth group faulted the Nigerian government for hijacking the oil and gas resources of the region and also trying to hijack the land and water resources without minding the fact that the livelihoods of the people in riverine areas are tied to their lands and water without which they will be impoverished and vulnerable.
“As Niger Deltans, we are saddened with the fact that our natural resources are taken over by the federal government without recourse to true federalism. It is appalling that the federal government will even be considering a bill that gives constitutional power to the Federal Government to have absolute control over the nation’s entire water resources, both over and underground.
"Ceding the control of our land and water resources to the federal government will not only impoverish our people but make them vulnerable," the statement said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the youth group noted, has not shown enough commitment toward national unity and cohesion as certain events happening in the country in recent times, including the reintroduction of the Water Resources Bill can divide Nigerians more than unite them.
"The reintroduction of this obnoxious and flawed Water Resources Bill is indeed a confirmation that President Buhari is not committed to national unity and cohesion. Instead of prioritizing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to stimulate economic growth, the present administration has chosen to display its obsession with the Water Resources Bill which is a clear statement that the federal government is not concerned about the suffering of average Nigerians," the statement said.
While calling on all legislators and stakeholders from the South-South and riverine areas to rise in strong opposition to the Water Resources Bill, the group urged the federal government to prioritize ending insecurity and many economic woes bedevilling Nigeria rather than pursuing legislation that is harmful to the already fragile situation in Nigeria.
"Nigeria is a total mess. The federal government should make efforts to clear the burden of insecurity, disunity, ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike, rising inflation and cost of living rather than creating more problems and opening up more fresh wounds.
"We will not fold our hands and allow this caricature of legislation to pass. The lawmakers should be concerned about ending ASUU strike, ending insecurity and promoting national unity rather than getting obsessed with other people's resources which are already protected by existing law," the statement added.