Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has said opposition to the Water Resources Bill by people from the South-South and Middle Belt would not stop the Federal Government from going ahead with the new law.
The minister, who said opposition to the new water Bill was unwarranted explained that those from the two zones would be the greatest beneficiaries if passed by the National Assembly.
Adamu, who addressed newsmen, in Abuja, yesterday, brushed aside insinuations that the Bill was being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari to enable him snatch people’s lands, institutionalise Ruga and northernise the country.
He argued that over 95 per cent content of the Bill was already in existence before the advent of the Buhari’s administration as it was first drafted in 2006 and completed in 2008.
He pointed out that before it was sent to the National Assembly, copies were distributed to the 36 governors for inputs and some gave recommendations while the rest were satisfied with it.
On the revenue that would be generated, he said the funds would be shared between the federal and state governments.
“Being a constitutional ministry, the bill is something that has been in the works for several years especially eight years. We thought it was a routine matter to adjust it.
“This bill past through the House of Representatives without any issue. So, when it came out with all the cacophony, it really took us by surprise.
“People have forgotten that in 2018 when this controversy started, I went to the TV and stations, I put out statements on this matter. And in 2020 this same issue came up again.
“The process of drafting this Bill started in 2006. And it was completed in 2008. And because Nigeria has subscribed to the Integrated Water Resources Management Commission Act which was created in 2017, it delegated the power of the minister drawn from the Water Resources Act of 2004 otherwise known as Decreed 101 of 1990.
“There is nothing new in the Bill. It is just an agglomeration of the 4 existing laws. Nothing more. The bill is to assist us move the water sector forward.
“If people are saying that we should throw the Bill, there is nothing to throw away because the bill is existing whether you pass it now or you don’t pass it, the rules are there.
“We will continue to implement them. But we are losing two important things. We will not have the opportunity to improve food security,” the minister said.
He claimed that those thwarting the passage of the Bill “have not read it. They are politicising it based on what they have heard.”