Governors to review, articulate common position on Water Resources Bill

Governors have resolved to review the contentious Water Resources Bill to present a common position to the Federal Government.

The contentious bill has continued to generate controversy as some prominent socio-cultural groups have rejected it.

The bill intends to empower the Minister of Water Resources to formulate policies and strategies to manage Nigeria’s water resources, and disallow any entity from commencing borehole drilling business without government licence while its regulations will be binding and enforceable under the law.

The proposed law would set up a Water Resources Regulatory Commission that will, among other things, issue licences to persons or corporate organisations to undertake abstractions of surface and ground waters, public and private irrigation, drainage systems, and diversion or impoundment of water for mining purposes.

The controversial bill will also give permission for construction and operation of hydraulic structures for rivers, dams, water intake barrages or artificial bars across rivers, groynes or barriers to check erosion, water bed and bank stabilisation dykes or trenches, polders or reclaimed land, wells, discharge of industrial and agricultural wastes into water bodies, sand dredging and rock removals in rivers.

But in a communique issued yesterday after a teleconference meeting of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Ekiti Governor and chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi,  said all the water related bills would be reviewed by the executive council and Attorneys General of states.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu had earlier briefed the Forum on the National Water Resources Bill 2020.

Adamu during his presentation, emphasised that the basic  philosophy  behind  the  Bill  was  to  integrate  water resources  management   by  bringing  all  laws  related  to  water resources management into one consolidated code.

He said the new bill was consistent with the  Land  Use  Act,  and  will  promote  equitable development, management, use  and  conservation  of  Nigeria’s  surface  and  groundwater resources.

The communique stated: “Forum  members  while  commending  the  Minister  of  Water  Resources  for taking  an  integrated  approach  on  water  resource  management  as  a  national  good, resolved  that  the  proposed  Bill  and  other  relevant  laws  including  the  River  Basins Development Authorities Act 2004; the Natural Water  Resources Act 2004; and  the Nigeria Hydrological Resources Act 2004 will be reviewed by their Attorneys General and Executive Councils of States after which a common position of States will be presented to Water Resources.”

The Forum also resolved to play  a strategic role in the forthcoming 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26) which, is designed to focus on the sub-nationals as the frontiers for economic  growth  and  development  in  the  country. – The Sun.

 

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