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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Water Resources Bill: FG Vows Not To Back Down

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The Federal Government says there is no going back on the Water Resources Bill currently before the National Assembly.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this Tuesday during a briefing alongside Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja.

He explained that the bill was to harmonious all the existing water-related laws in the country, adding that there was no hidden agenda behind it.

According to him, the bill was not a subterfuge reintroduction of RUGA scheme as being feared in many quarters.

He noted that rather than causing water wars, the bill was aimed at preventing water conflicts in the nation.

Mohammed explained that those criticising the bill either have not read it or were just being mischievous.

The minister said, “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.

These 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

– National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004

“So, why are the laws being re-packaged as the National Water Resources Bill 2020?

“The answer is that 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.

“The Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of the people (i.e. for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

“The Bill will ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons.

“Critics contend that the Bill is aimed at taking the resources of a certain part of the country for the use of herders. In other words, the Federal Government is seeking to implement RUGA by subterfuge.

“We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever.”

On his part, the Water Resources Minister, Engr. Suleiman Adamu explained that the Water Resources Bill was developed in 2008 before President Muhammadu Buhari was elected.

He said that the bill had been sent to every state of the federation for concurrence without any objection.

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