FG on Tuesday said there was no hidden agenda relating to the water resources bill being considered in the National Assembly. One of the multiple fears expressed by opponents of the water bill is that the Federal Government is poised to take over the nation’s water resources by licensing and commercializing the use of water.
There has been resentments and criticism of the bill from organized groups and individual citizen of Nigeria. The Nigeria Labour Congress have been a strong voice condemning and wanting the bill to be jettisoned. The statement “listen to voices, do not resurrect water resources bill” is credited to NLC telling members of the NASS.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of Water Resources Engr. Suleiman Adamu in a joint press conference on Tuesday in Abuja said many of those criticizing the bill have “not even bothered to
read its provisions, so depending on second-hand information to
reach their inferences. “Those who have read it have perhaps done so perfunctorily,” they posited. The Ministers listed seven points made by critics and provided answers to each of them.
According to the Ministers, the bill was designed to provide “professional and efficient management of all surface and groundwater” for the use of Nigerians “We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no
hidden agenda whatsoever,” the Ministers added in a statement read during the briefing.
The Ministers argued that the water resources bill was not a novel idea. “Gentlemen, there is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill. “This is because it is an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence for a long time.”
The laws being amalgamated, the Ministers explain include the Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004, the River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, CapN1100A, LFN 2004, and the National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004.
The Ministers explain that these laws are being collapsed into one because they are being re-enacted with necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).
“The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens,” including attracting private sector investment.