The federal government on Tuesday vowed to proceed with the Water Resources Bill despite increased opposition to it.
While dispelling insinuations of hidden agenda behind the bill, the government said those opposed to the bill were either being mischievous or have never read through it.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told reporters the bill was not designed to cause water wars in the country.
The minister said the bill is a panacea to likely water conflicts in the country, adding that it is not a subterfuge reintroduction of RUGA.
Mohammed made the clarifications at a joint briefing with the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja.
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.
– 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.”
Adamu said the bill was sent to all the states for concurrence without any object.
He said the bill predated the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said:” This was never a Buhari bill, it is a bill for Nigeria. It started 2008 long before the President thought of winning election.”
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