…as commission issues 125 licenses on water use
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- THE Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, yesterday, disclosed that the National Water Bill before the National Assembly will be passed into law in few months to come.
Adamu who made this known at a One-day National Consultative Conference on Water Use Regulations, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Framework, with theme, ‘Regulating Water Resources for Sustainable Development in Nigeria’, organised by the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, NIWRMC, said the bill when passed into law would benefit all Nigerians, and also positively impact on the economy of the nation.
He also explained that the bill was in the best interest of all parts of the country, and not as being misinterpreted to weep up sentiments on various platforms in order to discredit the good intention of the ministry.
According to him nothing new in the National Water Resources Bill, but an amalgamation of all the laws on water in Nigeria that would bring synergy among different government agencies, therefore the need to have different stakeholders together in order to understand each other’s role and responsibilities.
He said: “It is my hope that we discuss in the most objective manner that will lead to conclusions agreeable to every agency here present. Unfortunately, as it is with many good things in the country people have misunderstood the benefits of this National Water Bill.
“We have tried as we have done in these past few weeks to address the issue I still see some comments of people simply because they do not understand, I think they just want to politicize the Bill and the effort that is being made for the overall best interest of this country.
“I am very happy and confident that the distinguished members of the Senate who are well vast, experienced in governance, activities of life have the understanding now on what the bill is all about.
“And I remain optimistic that in the next few weeks or months by God’s grace the controversy around this National Water Bill will come to pass because at the end of the day news will not be on the pages of the newspapers or comments on social media.
“We believe we have 109 wise men in the senate have asked all the relevant questions and we have explained to the issues and are confident that the bill is a done deal.”
The minister also appealed to Nigerians to support the bill instead of making guarded utterances as it was not designed to negatively affect some parts of the country.
In his remarks, the Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, NIWRMC, Reuben Habu, said the conference tends to bring about synergy among different agencies of government, and also to help them know each other’s role and responsibility.
According to Habu the commission has issued 125 licenses, which it closely monitors to ensure that they operate according to the regulations given to them. He also said government will ensure all Nigerians have a fair share of water resources, and nobody will be allowed to monopolise water resources.
“We have issued 125 licenses on hydropower irrigation, thermal power generation, water supply, and others.
“Putting the custodianship of water resources in the hands of government for the people reduces conflicts because of exploitation. When a mega farmer could demand for all resources in an area for himself but by our regulation we make sure everybody has a fair share of water resources, and that leads to reducing conflicts in the nation.
“Everybody knows that somebody else requires part of the water and you don’t take all. That is the main focus of the National Water Bill at the National Assembly”, he stated.
He also pointed out that the Bill has nothing to do with herdsmen/farmers clash, rather will ensure all of them have access to water resources.
“We want to make it clear that the bill has no relationship for issue concerning herdsmen and farmers clash as some though it to be. Herdsmen are looking for grass to feed their cattle, while farmers are after land for farming activities. Their conflict has not been on water.
“We regulate use of water resources, which we look at the basis of their needs. We will give people who need water for ranching or cattle farming but for exclusion of farmers”, he said.