Okwe Obi, Abuja
Outgoing Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has said his greatest regret is his inability to ensure the passage of the Water Resources Bill which is before the Senate.
Adamu, who said this at a valedictory session, in Abuja, further said that before coming on board, Nigeria did not attain the Millennium Development Goals, especially on access to water supply, particularly with the decline in rural areas.
He said: “I wish I could equally have celebrated the enactment of the Water Resources Law. Unfortunately, this is not to be, as you would recall that while the bill had a smooth sail in the House of Representatives, it , unfortunately, became unnecessarily controversial in the Senate. It is my strong belief and hope that the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic will be more dispassionate about the intent, letter, and spirit of the bill and accelerate its passage.”
Adamu, however, said the dismal situation of water supply sanitation sector had been addressed, especially the ability to attain and attract the highest level of political commitment and attention in the WASH sector
“Commitment and attention demonstrated by President Muhammadu Buhari when he launched the National WASH Action Plan (NAP) for the revitalisation of the WASH Sector and declared a ‘State of Emergency’ on the sector on 8th November 2018,” he added.
He said he inherited 116 major on-going and abandoned projects like irrigation and drainage, 35, dams and 37reservoirs and water supply on assumption of office but completed and commissioned 11.
According to him, “many of the projects were either abandoned or comatose because they required review of scope, or cost, or lacked consistent funding to be completed.
“Most of the projects had attained 40%- 60% level of completion of less, while outstanding liabilities on them stood at N88.8 trillion, while 11 were completed and commissioned.”
He expressed hopeful that the next minister would consolidate on “discussions with China Bureau of the South to North Water Division Project and which is a collaboration between the Bureau and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.”