The Nigerian government has hit out at those criticizing the National Water Resources Bill, describing them as ill-informed. It further reiterated that there’s no going back on the passage of the bill.
At the nation’s capital, Abuja, the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed at a press briefing he addressed with his counterpart, the Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu, said the bill contains nothing new but an amalgamation of existing water laws to make it relevant to modern dynamics in line with global best practices.
The contentious bill was shot down at the eighth National Assembly but has now been reintroduced in the ninth Assembly.
However, it is again receiving adverse reactions from stakeholders who believe it’s a subterfuge for the reintroduction of the RUGA believed to give unhindered access to herders.
Mohammed at the briefing said the bill is for the good of the country and has no hidden agenda. According to him, it’s deliberate mischief by some of those who have been portraying the Bill as a new source of conflict.
”There is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill. This is because it is an amalgamation of water resources laws that have been in existence for a long time.
“These are Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004, The River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004, The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N1100A, LFN 2004, and National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004.
”So, why are the laws being re-packaged as the National Water Resources Bill 2020? The answer is that they are being re-enacted with necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.
”The Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and groundwater for the use of the people (i.e. for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries, and recreation).
“The Bill will ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed, and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons.
”We are therefore using this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the Bill to avoid being misled by those who have chosen to politicize it. We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever.
“Finally, when passed into law, the National Water Resources Bill 2020 will provide for the enhancement of the Nigeria Water Sector, in line with global best practices,” the Information minister said.
Confirming Mohammed’s statement, Adamu said the bill when passed is meant to protect the citizens’ right to Nigeria’s water resources.
“This was never a Buhari bill, it is a bill for Nigeria. It started in 2008 long before the president thought of winning the election,” Adamu said.