Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Rep. Sada Soli (APC Katsina), has urged Nigerians to be optimistic about passage of the National Water Resources Bill by the National Assembly.
Soli gave the charge on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at a Farewell Dinner in honour of the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, in Abuja.
The Water Resources Bill seeks to establish a regulatory framework for trans-boundary water resources in Nigeria.
It also seeks to provide for the equitable and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s inter-state surface water and groundwater resources, and other related matters.
According to the lawmaker, the 9th Assembly delayed the passage of the bill, following its rejection by several persons, as well as its politicisation.
He, however, said the contending issues and the grey areas delaying the passage were being addressed.
Soli, representing Jibiya-Kaita Federal Constituency, stressed the need for patience, expressing hope that the bill would eventually sail through as was the case with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which went through different stages of antagonism.
“We need this bill in order to address, manage, organise and harness the water sector in this country. As we know, this country is a very progressive country, we have intellectuals and patriotic citizens.
“One day, just the way the Petroleum Industry Bill went through all the knocks and beatings, at the end, we were able to achieve the Petroleum Industry Act.
“I believe that in the course of this country’s history, one day, the water resources bill will be passed for the benefit of Nigerians.”
Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who spoke highly of Adamu, described the minister as committed, intelligent and knowledgeable in many fields, not only in engineering.
Mustapha said it was his passion towards change and sustainable development that made the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to prioritise action on the water and sanitation sector.
“His ability to convince Nigerians on the importance of sanitation and hygiene is remarkable, he brought the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme to change the sector.
“With this, national attention and discourse have been the focus, and today, we have Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), departments in all 774 local government areas, through the PEWASH programme.”
The SGF testified of Adamu’s integrity and commitment, saying he had shown it many times, especially at the FEC meetings.
He, therefore, wished the minister the best in his future endeavours, saying posterity would judge him fairly.
In his response, Adamu appreciated all guests who honoured him with their presence, saying the memories would be for a lifetime.
Speaking on his eight-year tenure at the ministry, Adamu said he had no regrets whatsoever, expressing hope that he was able to inspire those he was living behind.
“I am living this job happy and fulfilled, hoping that I have met the expectations of my boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, and I hope I have been able to inspire you all.
“I am leaving the rest of the work to the Permanent Secretary, and also urging you to sustain the progress already made.”
Still on the bill pending at the National Assembly, the minister said some people chose to politicise the provisions of the bill, adding that there was nothing new in its provisions, as 90 per cent were already existing.
He expressed optimism that his successor would continue from where he stopped, by adding value to repositioning the water resources sector in the country.
”I have no regrets, I have done what I should have done, noting new or conflicting in the bill. Life goes on, laws are there and they will help the sector”.
Highlights of the event were presentation of gifts, goodwill messages from the international community, development partners, civil society groups, government officials and many others.
By Tosin Kolade