The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has called on the Senate to pass the National Water Bill, saying it is consistent with Nigeria’s Constitution and the Land Use Act.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Musa Ibrahim, who made this call at the ongoing Nigeria Media Week in Abuja, said that the bill was for the overall benefit of Nigerians and should not be politicised.
He said that the House of Representatives had passed the bill early 2018, and was waiting for the Senate to do same.
Ibrahim urged Nigerians to disregard misleading allegations, which were evident from the various commentaries noticed from those opposing the bill.
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He said that the bill was not a new law; rather it was an amalgamation of water resources laws which had been in existence as enshrined in Water Resources Act, Cap. W2 LFN 2004.
He said that this was to promote efficient use of water resources and reduce duplication of efforts in line with international best practices.
He said that reports in the media appeared to have neglected the provisions of the bill meant for the development, management and efficient use of the nation’s water resources in line with global best practices.
“I want to let the media know that this bill did not just drop from heaven and it is not being pushed down the throat of Nigerians, it has gone through several stages, the water bill was not started by the Buhari administration.
“We should not look at it from that narrow prism, and we should not pull political capital out of it.
“A lot of people who are making comments about the bill have not even read it. I challenge you media people to please get copies of the bill because if you read it and understand it, you will be able to defend it.
“The house of representatives has already passed this bill, the Senate is yet to pass it, and that is where the problem is, we are making every effort to make sure this the bill is passed at the Senate so that we will have just one body.
“Some of the Senators who we have been talking to are saying the Federal Government want to control everything about water, that is not true, so I challenge the media to read the bill so that they will understand it better.”
The permanent secretary further appealed to stakeholders and Nigerians in general to have faith in the bill as it was for the good of the nation; saying when passed into law it would better serve the water sector and provide for the enhancement of the sector in line with global best practices.
He stressed that the overall objective was geared toward efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of the country and the wellbeing of its citizens.
“These laws 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.
“These laws are being re-enacted with necessary modifications in the new bill to actualise current global trends and best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).’’
Ibrahim added that the bill, drafted in 2006 had passed through series of consultations among stakeholders up to 2008, since then it had received no priority attention by successive administrations till date.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of all people.
The bill is for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation.
The bill also provides for capacity building processes to foster good governance while establishing a water use and licensing framework to ensure sustainable financing for the water sector.