Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka, has flayed the Federal Government and National Assembly for attempting to reintroduce the rejected National Water Resources Bill rejected by the public in 2018.
Reacting to the development, Soyinka in a statement on Thursday said the bill if left unchallenged will give Aso Rock total control of all water resources in the country.
“A roundly condemned project blasted out of sight by public outrage one or two years ago, is being exhumed and sneaked back into service by none other than a failed government, and with the consent of a body of people, supposedly elected to serve as custodians of the rights, freedoms and existential exigencies of millions. This bill – Bill on National Water resources 2020 – is designed to hand Aso Rock absolute control over the nation’s entire water resources, both over and underground.
“The basic facilitator of human existence, water – forget for now all about streams of righteousness! – is to become exclusive to one centralised authority. It will be doled out, allocated through power directives from a desensitised rockery that cannot even boast of the water divining wand of the prophet Moses. If the current presiding genius–and this applies equally to all his predecessors without exception – had a structured vision of Nigerian basic entitlements, Nigerians would by now, be able to boast the means of fulfilling even that minimalist item of COVID-19 protocols that call for washing one’s hands under running water! As for potable water, for drinking and cooking, let us not even begin to address such extra-terrestrial undertaking!
“What next for the exclusive list? The rains? I declare myself in full agreement with virtually every pronouncement of alarm, outrage, opprobrium and repudiation that has been heaped upon this bill and its parentage, both at its first outing and since this recent re-emergence. It is time to move beyond denunciations however and embark on practical responses for its formal deactivation and permanent internment. Let all retain in their minds that, from the same source that preached the “streams of righteousness” is encountered the promise of “no more floods, the fire next time” he said.
The Nobel laureate also condemned the killings of members of the the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Enugu on Sunday by men of the Department of State Services (DSS).
“One passage in Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” has leapt to the forefront as a warning that relates to that final interrogatory – do future lives matter ? And it does so in a most literal manner, one that MLK could never have envisioned! It persists in echoing through the mind, reinforced by the recent killings of innocent humanity – mostly youths — in Enugu, by state forces, under the pretext – shall we presume? – of preventing secessionist agitations?” he queried.
“One polluted stream of human existence compounds the next. A violation here joins forces with its tributary of resentment there yonder, all seemingly unconnected. Martin Luther King’s streams of righteousness turn into a mighty torrent of repulse that overwhelms the perpetrators but, alas, takes down much else as collateral, irreparable damage. That is the only cause for regret and – restraint. Hence our duty to position that anguished question frontally, and call the world to witness our open propagation of that challenge: Do future lives matter?
“Let Buhari and his myrmidons ponder that question in the deepest recesses of their hearts and minds. They should not bequeath to future generations the harvest of the grapes of wrath!” he said.