Following the furore that greeted the withdrawal and return of the National Water Resources bill at the National Assembly (NASS), the Federal Government has sued for peace among stakeholders, mostly past governors in NASS and Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the revised National Water Resources Bill.
Government explained that the revised National Water Resources Bill in NASS was meant to provide technical solution to the problems facing inadequate and quality potable water supply in the country.
In addition, the bill contains all the existing laws with no change as far as the constitutional provisions are concerned. Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, made this known in a live programme on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), monitored by New Telegraph.
He said most of the critics of the bill were yet to read it, only being biased and alleging that the Federal Government was planning to take over the country’s water resources, which is not in the Exclusive List of the Nigerian Water Resources Act 2004 provision.
Adamu said Nigeria had been losing huge investments running into billions of naira yearly on water resources schemes and also on the verge of missing out towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on adequate water resources supply to its citizens, unless, the revised bill is passed by the lawmakers in the National Assembly.
He said: “First of all, let me say this to Nigerians, I don’t claim to be a water resources expert, but, I’m knowledgeable in water resources and for me to promote this, is a professional responsibility in addition, to the fact that I am the minister of water resources.
“When I came, I saw problems. We had retreat in November 2015, brought in all the experts, we discussed the problems and way forward for the water resources sector in the country.
“And this bill, when it was drafted, I wasn’t there. Yes, I was in politics, no doubt, but I never imagined myself that I would be a minister. It was at that retreat that I even discovered there was a draft bill and stakeholders at that retreat, we all agreed that one way to reposition the water resources sector is to have this bill in place.
“If other past ministers didn’t carry it, that is their problems. But I had professional responsibility, in addition to political responsibility to address the issues of water resources sector and that is what we have been doing. “For me, I think it’s time for us to forget about this argument and let’s allow the lawmakers to do their work.
They will go through this bill, line by line, address it, if there are issues or sections of the bill that they are not interested in, it can be modified, treated or expunge from the bill,” he added.
On the state governments’ stance, Adamu explained: “Absolutely, we are losing investments, we constructed a central water project in a state for N6 billion. Sobih water supply in Kaduna State has been going on since 1992, we were able to finished it. Federal Govback ernment is putting money in water supply in Zugeru, in Wushishi water supply, we did the Benin dam.
“In Owena dam, we built a brand new water treatment plant that have been lying down for more than 10 years now, just for the state to do the treatment and the distribution.
Our hands are tight because we can’t do it anymore. Most of the water resources schemes that were done at the federal level for them, when you go back there, they are not being run by the state governments properly.”