Water ministry saves N53bn from contract review

No river bank handed over to Fulani herders

Says Bill will change narrative in water sector

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, has said it is ignorant and unpatriotic Nigerians who are criticizing the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly and misleading others.

Adamu stated this during a press conference at the Ministry’s headquarters, where he said some Nigerians are deliberately misinforming and misleading others about the provisions of the Bill, whereby inciting them against the Bill, because they  have failed to understand the provisions of the Bill which is in the interest of Nigerians.

According to him, those opposing the Bill are people who are mining water without paying the necessary taxes and licencing fees at the detriment of other Nigerians.

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While some do not want to read the Bill because they do not believe in the Buhari-led administration.

He added that the bill is being done by Nigerian experts including those from the southern part of the country.

He said the Bill is basically to improve the water service delivery based on the new draft of the Bill, which is all encompassing.

He said: “We will not stop talking about them because a certain segment of society that does not seem to appreciate has taking it upon themselves this Bill as political when it should not thereby causing a lot of misconception, and deliberately misleading Nigerians knowing fully well that some people will not even bother to look at what is happening, they prefer to take issues from the headlines and just continue to harp on them.

“People take water for granted because they don’t accord it the priority it deserves and also being elitist society people tend to look at issues that have on them on what they do on day-to-day basis maybe transportation and others

“People ignorantly say what they don’t know about the Bill.

“We cannot just keep quiet while the Nigerian citizenry is being fed false narratives about what we are trying to do.

“One of the ironies of this issue of the National Water Resources Bill that is very important is there had always been a kind of accusation maybe complaints about the water sector; water service delivery is not there, and others.”

He also made it clear that the Bill never made provision to grab land or river banks for Fulani herders as being conceived by a section of Nigerians, because State Governments still retain power over land resources as contained in the Bill.

“People are talking about land grab and say throw away this bill in what we call in local parlance, ‘throwing the baby with the bath water’.

“Could it be there is nothing good about this Bill? That everything about this Bill is negative that people are saying throw it out.

“Is it not time for people including skeptics to sit down and say wait a minute, what are the key provisions of this Bill, but the antagonists have keep on harping that this is about land grab, RUGA, providing Fulani herders banks of the river, and others.

“These laws in the water resources sector have been in existence for nearly 40 years ago, Fulani herders have never been given that land because there is no provision in that law.

“We must not be made a laughing stock at the international level. Let common sense prevail”, he stated.

However, he explained that the bill, having generated controversies over the years has been reviewed by many water experts and highly skilled legal professionals.

Some of the innovations captured in the review include the institutionalization of independent body to help reposition and regulate the water sector.

Meanwhile, he (Adamu) expressed confidence about the commitment and patriotism of members of the National Assembly in passing the Bill into law based on their knowledge to take decisions in favour of Nigerians.

“They are our representatives and I am confident that they will represent us well”, he said.

Also speaking was a water resources expert, Engr Benson Ajesegiri, stressed that the Water Resources Bill will bring peace and development to the people while speaking via zoom during the media conference.

A legal consultant for National Water Resources Bill 2022, Tanwa Koya, called for.closer view and understanding about the Bill, “We look at the bill from the perspective of what we tend to achieve as a nation.”

Koya added that the bill provides an institutional framework for the effective governance of the Water Sector.

The Executive Director of Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, Engr Bashir Magashi, said the Bill is for the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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