The federal government of Nigeria has maintained its position on ensuring passage of the National Water Resource Bill 2020 into law.
This was restated by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed who noted that the bill was nothing new from the existing law.
According to the minister in his reaction to critics by Nigerians over the establishment of the bill, the overall objective of the amalgamation is the efficient management of the water resources sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the wellbeing of its citizens.
Mohammed condemned those lamenting and accusing the government of seeking the control of water, usage and its resources, describing them as “anti-people” and also being mischievous. According to the Minister, the bill is a consolidation of four existing laws aimed at the efficient management of water resources in the country.
The minister admonished Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the bill, adding that no one should allow himself be misled by those who have chosen to politicise the bill.
“Gentlemen, 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,” Mohammed’s statement reads.
It continued, “These are; Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004, 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 repackaged 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 wellbeing of its citizens.”
“Contrary to what is being perpetuated, water resources in a state that do not go beyond the particular state are not regulated by this bill. You can now see that many of those condemning the National Water Resources Bill 2020 either have not read it or do not understand its provisions. Also, we cannot rule out deliberate mischief by some of those who have been portraying the Bill as a new source of conflict.”
“We are therefore using this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the bill to avoid being misled by those who have chosen to politicise it.
“We also want to state that the bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever,” the minister reiterated.
Soyinka stated this on September 1, 2020, while presenting 107 copies of several books to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state for onward distribution to persons taking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps across the state.