The Federal Government has said there is no going back on passage of the National Water Resources Bill 2020.
Okay.ng recalls that the bill, which was rejected in the 8th Assembly, has been reintroduced in the 9th National Assembly, and is again receiving backlash from stakeholders alleging that the federal government of is making move to control the entire water resources of the country.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday said that the bill is a consolidation of four existing laws aimed at the efficient management of water resources in the country.
He 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 and 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 groundwater 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.
“Also, we cannot rule out deliberate mischief by some of those who have been portraying the Bill as a new source of conflict. We are therefore using this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the Bill to avoid being misled by those who have chosen to politicise it. We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever. Finally, when passed into law, the National Water Resources Bill 2020 will provide for the enhancement of the Nigeria Water Sector, in line with global best practices.”