Lots of noise around the National Water Resources Bill


Also on the melodrama that has been going on for about a month now, in the House of Representatives over the controversies surrounding the enactment of the new National Water Resources Act. Some members of the federal lawmakers who denied the proposed bill said the bill was self-serving in its entirety by favoring some parts of the states and neglecting others.

The bill criticized state and stakeholder involvement in water resources.

It is with the intention of the federal government to take control of surface resources and groundwater outright, as well as issue a licensing policy for commercial purposes. Not only that, another evil intention of the bill is to implement the heinous policy of rural grazing scheme, RUGA and land grabbing scheme to favor pastoralists through the back door.

No wonder the influx of Fulani herders and their cows all over the cities, with no one to challenge their audacity. This has led to a high level of insecurity and economic collapse by bandits, terrorists instigated by supposed Fulani herdsmen in the country, and many have also expressed concern that the aim of the bill’s promoters is to provide land to shepherds.

Another argument over the proposed bill is federal government policy guiding the drilling of boreholes in a household for private or commercial purposes. It’s not easy with the stress and opposition to politics building up.

Nigeria’s Senior Advocate and Human Rights Activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), said that “contrary to the provisions of the proposed Bill, the Federal Government cannot authorize or authorize persons who wish to dig drill holes outside the Federal Capital Territory”. He added that it was just an unfortunate situation.

The reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill was raised by the Chairman of the House Water Resources Committee, Hon. Sada Soli (APC / Katsina) in the National Assembly in June 2022 was not a surprise.

Soli said the Nigeria Water Resources Bill did not introduce significant new elements into the already existing and operational water laws in Nigeria, but a repackaging of the already existing law. While criticizing opponents of the bill including Benue State Governor Dr Samuel Ortom and Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka, Soli boasted that the newly reintroduced bill would win ground, especially since the federal government’s supposed goals on water and its related matters have come to stay. Unfortunately, his motivations as well as his promoters had been rejected by the house. It was in light of these and other elements that the House of Representatives considered him a threat to the nation before he could divide the nation and tear it apart.

Recall that this same heinous and toxic bill was introduced and defeated by the House during the tenure of President Yakubu Dogara.

Meanwhile, in the case of the week, there was an alleged plot by the house of representatives to impeach the speaker of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila if he failed to pass the bill, simply because some Northern caucus members concluded plans to impeach him for apparently working against their interest in passing the water bill. This was based on the fact that those advocating for the bill were from a certain part of the country that will directly benefit from its objective.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase, reacted to the alleged report that what Members of the House and Nigerians as a whole need at this time is the ability to function together to meet the challenges facing the country is facing and not to be “carried away by emotion and feeling”. . We remain a symbol of democracy in Nigeria”.

For his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu explained that contrary to the perception of Nigerians, the bill seeks to manage all surface and ground water for all, both for domestic and non-domestic use, as well as for irrigation and other purposes. agricultural.

Adamu mentioned that the laws contained in the bill are an amalgamation of already existing water resources laws, re-enacted with necessary amendments to align them with current global trends and best practices in integrated water resources management. water (IWRM).

He further explained that “the Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of all Nigerians such as domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, shipping, fishing and recreation.

“This will undoubtedly ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, utilized, developed, conserved and managed sustainably for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“The objective of the National Water Act is to establish a regulatory framework for the water resources sector in Nigeria by ensuring equitable and sustainable development, management, utilization and conservation of surface and groundwater from Nigeria.

He also said, “I believe without doubt that the National Water Resources Bill is relevant and appropriate for Nigeria given that over 80% of the nations of the world have subscribed to the concept of integrated resource management. (IWRM), which aims to promote the rights of citizens, remove barriers to the management of water as an economic resource and contribute to the empowerment of people.

But Adamu further expressed his displeasure with the misconception that surrounded the passing of the bill before the National Assembly, despite the benefits imbibed in its contents. He encouraged Nigerians not to get distracted even in times like this to reshape water resources.

“Unfortunately, the Bill has caused so much controversy and one of the reasons for this is that many of those who criticize the Bill have not even seen the contents or read its provisions.

“The group of those who oppose the bill depend on second-hand information to draw their conclusions.

“It is a disappointing comment that at a time when Nigerians seek to improve service delivery in the water sector, the very policies and reforms needed to achieve progress are being undermined by unpatriotic people because of a cheap policy. We must not let them succeed”. He propped himself up.

“While some people have vested interests, like regulation, especially for commercial water use, that’s something they don’t want to do.

“Some of them don’t want to pay the necessary taxes to the government to exploit these waters because they exploit the water illegally,” he reportedly said.

Despite many efforts by the minister to defend this flawed minister’s bill, the governors of the 36 states of the federation on Tuesday rejected the passage of the National Water Resources Bill 2020, saying that the reintroduction of the bill proposed is unfounded.

It was unanimously agreed that the reintroduction of the proposed Bill does not adequately address the interests of the States and is not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They described it as a ploy by the federal government to secure land around rivers in southern Nigeria to resettle foreign herders after the failure of the Cattle Colony and Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiatives.

The Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, who briefed the other members, revealed the position on Tuesday after the forum’s 5th teleconference meeting that the draft law should be revised to fit all affected states.

“The bill, according to the Forum, should be reviewed with a view to addressing the concerns of all States

“On the reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill, the Governors argued that the Bill did not adequately address the interests of the States and was inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria “, did he declare.

In addition, it was believed that the bill had a religious bias, in favor of northerners and other Muslims and that if passed would hinder the current movement towards devolution.

Also speaking, the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said in a statement, “The fixation of Buhari and his parents from Katsina State to make the bill into law is reprehensible and self-serving.

“The National Assembly should not reinforce crime by passing this despicable bill. The president should also refrain from pushing this heinous and divisive agenda to see the bill sanctioned.

Now that the National Water Bill has been badly received and outright rejected by Governors and other stakeholders, what is the fate of water resources and what does it encompass?

The proposed bill was originally introduced and approved by the National Water Resources Board in May 2016, which was then presented to the 8th National Assembly in 2017, until its controversial reintroduction for passage.

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