Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUPCTRE, have asked the Federal Government to discard the National Water Resources Bill because of its “anti-people and pro-privatisation sections.”
The rights group said the offending sections of the bill, which is currently before the National Assembly, “make it inevitable for us to conclude that it is not intended to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians, and is the first step in plans to commodify our common patrimony.
“When Nigerians had thought that our lawmakers would hearken to the voices of the people for a serious review of the bill, it was steadily progressing towards passage in the National Assembly.”
The groups, at a briefing in Lagos, said three years after they queried the contentious National Water Bill, it had been brought back.
The Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, decried a section of the bill that provides that citizens should secure driller’s licence before drilling private boreholes.
He argued that regardless of the intention, “this would amount to invasion of property and privacy under the guise of legislation or regulation. It is at best a licence to arbitrary encroachment.”
On his part, Associate Director, CAPPA, Aderonke Ige Ige, who reviewed over 21 sections of the bill, which seek to remove the rights to water from states, faulted the provisions.
He advised that the Federal Government should think of ways of alleviating the sufferings of the citizenry, rather than add to their burden.
CAPPA and AUPCTRE, whose National President, Benjamin Anthony, was at the briefing, agreed that the proposed law was “anti-people and an attempt to foist additional burden on Nigerians, who are already suffering untold hardship under the current government.
“Although on the surface it appears that Public-Private Partnership, PPP, is beneficial and will only apply to infrastructure development of water resources, but with deeper insight, it is impossible for private corporations to commit resources to the development of water without a measure of control and ownership.
“Private corporations gun for profits and will always act in their own interests to maximise profits.
“Control and distribution through a PPP arrangement, therefore, will at best be inimical and counter-productive to free access of citizens to water, as clearly admitted as a matter of right in previous sections of the bill’s objective.”