Some groups, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, have called for the bill to be rejected. Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has also been quoted as saying the country will be doomed if the bill makes it into the law books.
But in a joint press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and the Minister of Water Resources Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said many of those criticising the bill have “not even bothered to
read its provisions, thus depending on second-hand information to
reach their conclusions.
“Those who have read it have perhaps done so perfunctorily.”
The Ministers said the bill was designed to provide “professional and efficient management of all surface and groundwater” for the use of Nigerians.
The Ministers on Tuesday said the water resources bill was not a novel idea.
“Gentlemen, there is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill,” they said. “This is because it is an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence for a long time.”
The laws being amalgamated, according to the Ministers, 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 the National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004.
So why are these laws being collapsed into one?
“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 Ministers said.
“The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens,” including attracting private sector investment.