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FG Tasks NASS On Passage Of National Water Bill

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The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has called on the Senate to pass the National Water Bill, saying it was consistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Land Use Act.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Musa Ibrahim, who made this call at the ongoing Nigeria Media Week in Abuja, said the bill was for the overall benefit of Nigerians and should not be politicised.

He noted that the Federal House of Representatives had passed the bill early 2018, and waiting on the Senate to do same, urging Nigerians to disregard misleading allegations, which were evident from the various commentaries noticed from those opposing the Bill.

He noted that the Bill was not a new law; rather an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence as enshrined in LFN 2004 to promote efficient use of water resources and reduce duplication of efforts in line with international best practices.

He said reports in the media appeared to have neglected the provisions of the bill which was for the development, management and efficient use of the Nation’s water resources in line with global best practices.

“I want to let the media know that this bill did not just drop from heaven and it’s being pushed to the throat of Nigerians.

“It’s gone through several stages, the water bill was not started by the Buhari administration, we should not look at it from that narrow prism, and we should not pull political capital out of it.

“A lot of people who are making comments about the bill have not even read it; I challenge you media people to please get copies of the bill, because if you read it and understand it, you will be able to defend it.

“The house of representatives have already passed this bill, the Senate is yet to pass it, and that is where the problem is, we are making every effort to make sure this the bill is passed at the Senate so that we will have just one body.

“Some of the Senators that we have been talking to are saying the Federal government want to control everything about water; that is not true, so I challenge the media to read the bill so that you will understand better.”

He noted that the Bill was not a new law; rather an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence as enshrined in LFN 2004 to promote efficient use of water resources and reduce duplication of efforts in line with international best practices.

He said reports in the media appeared to have neglected the provisions of the bill which was for the development, management and efficient use of the Nation’s water resources in line with global best practices.

The permanent secretary further appealed to stakeholders and Nigerians in general to have faith in the bill as it was for the good of the nation.

He said when passed into Law, it would serve and provide for the enhancement of the Nigeria Water Sector in line with global best practices.

He stressed that the overall objective was geared towards efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.

“These Laws 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.

“These Laws are being re-enacted with necessary modifications in the new bill to actualise current global trends and best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). “

He added that that the bill, drafted in 2006, had passed through series of consultations among stakeholders up to 2008, since which time it received no priority attention by successive administrations until now.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of all people.

Such as, domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

The Federal Government intends to ensure through the provisions of the Law that “the water resources of the Nation are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons in accordance with its constitutional mandate’’.

Also, the Bill provides for the creation of an enabling environment for public and private sector investment.

The bill also provides for capacity building processes to foster good governance whilst establishing a water use and licensing framework to ensure sustainable financing for Water Sector.

 



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