Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Ahead of the resumption of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives said that there is nothing sinister about its resolve to revisit the National Water Resource Bill, which was killed by the 8th Senate.
The Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, said the intention of the Bill is to consolidate existing acts, so as to come up with a new legal framework for the regulation of the water sector of the economy.
Soli stated that it is not true that any provision in the Bill empowers the Federal Government to take control of certain kilometres of land from the bank of any river in the country. And challenge anyone who thinks otherwise to feel free to point out such provisions.
The House had in July, shortly before it commenced its annual recess, resolved to commit the National Water Resource Bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
However, the decision of the House to revisit the Bill has been generating diverse reactions, with several stakeholders urging lawmakers to reject the proposed legislation.
Nevertheless, Soli, in an interview with journalists, in Abuja, on Monday, said opposition to the bill is borne out lack of understanding of the advantages the country will derive from the proposed legislation.
According to him, ‘when you talk about certain kilometres to be ceded that is not true. Show me the section of that bill, which talks about that. That shows that people were not following. When the public hearing was held, such issues that were raised were taken off the Bill. “
He added: ‘The House is governed by certain laws and the House brought back this bill in accordance with its rules. Nobody was surcharged.
‘Remember, this Bill was on the order paper for about a month. It was read for the first time. It was read for the second time. It was sent to the Committee of the whole for consideration. It has been reoccurring on the floor. Are you saying the members are not aware of it?
‘People in the industry are more likely to understand the advantage of this bill. This bill is not new. This bill is a combination of four acts that gave been in existence in this country for the last 35 years. We are just consolidating them… There is nothing sinister about it. It is for the benefit of all Nigerians because water is common resources of all people.’