The Borehole Drillers Association of Nigeria on Monday, July 2, 2018 urged the National Assembly to pass the Water Resources Management Bill into law to stimulate effective management of the country’s water resources.
President of association, Mr Francis Uzoma, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that the bill, when passed and assented to by President Mohammadu Buhari, would facilitate efforts to prioritise issues in the water resources sector via sound policies and programmes.
He said that media reports appeared to have neglected the salient provisions of the bill which was particularly aimed at fast-tracking the development, management and efficient use of the nation’s water resources, in line with global best practices.
Uzoma, however, appealed to all stakeholders and Nigerians in general to have faith in the bill, saying that was for the good of the nation.
He said that the attention of the association had been drawn to the erroneous and distorted analyses of the National Water Resources Bill, which was currently before the Senate, as it had been passed by the House of Representatives.
“The bill will create room for the private sector to come on board; it will also create employment opportunities for the people.
“The National Water Resources Bill is consistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Land Use Act, and it should not be politicised.
“We are appealing to all Nigerians to have faith in the bill, as it was for the good of the nation,’’ he added.
NAN recalls that the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, once urged Nigerians and lawmakers to stop politicising the water resources bill, saying its benefits were enormous and for the public good.
He said that the overall objective of the bill was geared toward the efficient management of the water resources sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the wellbeing of its citizens.
“The existing laws in the sector include the 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.
“However, these laws are being re-enacted with necessary modifications in the new bill so as to actualise current global trends and best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM),’’ he said.
Adamu noted that the National Water Resources Bill, which was drafted in 2006, had passed through series of consultations among stakeholders up to 2008, adding, however, that since that time, successive administrations had failed to give it priority attention until now.
NAN reports that the bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface water and groundwater for the use of all the citizens.
The Federal Government intends to ensure, through the provisions of the proposed 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’’.
NAN notes that the bill provides for the creation of an enabling environment for public and private sector investment.
It also provides for capacity building processes to foster good governance, while establishing a water use and licensing framework to ensure sustainable finance for the water sector.
By Tosin Kolade