The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Wednesday, said the National Water Bill before the National Assembly may soon be passed into law in a few months.
Adamu, who made this known at a one-day National Consultative Conference on Water Use Regulations, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Framework, 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, contrary to misinterpretations designed to whip up sentiments on various platforms in order to discredit the good intention of the ministry.
According to him, there is nothing new in the National Water Resources Bill, which is an amalgam of all the laws on water in Nigeria that would bring synergy among different government agencies.
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.
“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 unguarded utterances, stressing that it was not designed to negatively affect some parts of the country.
In his remarks, Reuben Habu, the Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, NIWRMC, said the conference tended to bring about synergy among different agencies of government, and also to help them know each other’s role and responsibility.
According to him, the commission has issued 125 licences which it closely monitors to ensure that they operate according to the regulations.
He also said government would ensure all Nigerians had a fair share of water resources, and that nobody would be allowed to monopolise water resources.
“We have issued 125 licences 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.