The National President, Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners Practitioners, AWDROP, who doubles as the Founder/CEO, Global Initiative for Nigeria Development, GIND, Engr. Michael Ale, has called on Nigerians to shun calls for the withdrawal of the Water Resources Bill by various political and socio-cultural groups, noting that many are just rejecting the bill without keenly understanding its content.
While speaking to newsmen in Lagos, weekend, Ale urged Nigerians not to advance political or ethnic sentiments by discouraging the water bill from becoming law, adding that the nation stands to gain more economically and otherwise if the bill is properly assessed and scrutinised before it is passed by the legislature.
He urged all state assemblies to urgently consider the bill in such a way that it meets the peculiar needs of their respective states; in the same way the Operation Amotekun law in the South-West was passed.
The Sustainable Development expert advised that instead of calling for its death, the Water Resources Bill could be amended.
He said: “Some portions considered controversial would be expunged and the harmless portions will be passed. Such exercise should be replicated at all state levels with a regulatory commission at the Federal level.
“Why should we jettison the whole bill just because some parts of it have been greeted with controversy tainted with political and ethnic sentiments? It is like throwing away the baby with the bathwater.
“In line with international best practices, water law is germane to protecting our water resources, just like we have laws governing the airspace and land activities.
“The current practice along the water sector is the Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, which requires that the water resources must be governed and managed well for the sake of sustainable and equitable use of this common resources by all, irrespective of political affiliations, race, gender and sociological or cultural beliefs and interpretations.
“But the current political atmosphere and the bad naming of the bill is creating unnecessary apprehension in our polity, leading to misconception and distortion of the process that has gone through legislative proceedings.
“Frankly speaking, rejecting the proposed Water Resources bill is akin to rejecting development projects like provision of water, construction of roads, markets and other projects being executed by the government.
“Those misinterpreting the bill now do not even have the authority to do so because they do not have the professional understanding.”
Speaking further, Ale counselled that the proposed bill could help check the perennial flooding ravaging the nation, saying “water resources is causing war in some countries now.
“Imagine the flooding we experience yearly; and nothing has been done to curb it. This bill gives direction as to who takes responsibility and how things are done.
“Let us take a critical look at the petroleum industry. For example, the Federal Government controls who establishes petrol stations and the state government is still part of that activity.
“Do we have any controversy over that? There could be synergy between federal and state governments on this.”