Water Resources Bill is pro-development, not politics, says Minister

Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu has pledged his commitment towards full passage of the National Water Resources bill into law.

Adamu reiterated that the bill was for the overall benefit of all Nigerians.

He said it was saddening that antagonists of the bill went hysterical, giving it different colourations, saying that outright call for the bill to be thrown out was against water resources development.

Adamu said his ministry had debunked all arguments against the bill through routine continuous media rounds, saying the next step was to await another public hearing, if need be.

“Some of the people that are vehemently opposing this bill are the ones that stand to benefit and the ones that are mostly protected.

“For instance, in the riverine areas, if you don’t have a law that protects the interstate waters, because 80 per cent of the fresh water of this country, they flow from north to south into the Atlantic.

“If you don’t have this kind of protection for the downstream end, what will happen?,” he wondered.

Adamu said if states like Kebbi where River Niger comes in or Adamawa where River Benue flows in decided they wanted to control the water at their end, it would affect the downstream communities.

“That is why since independence, our constitution has made it that the water that flows across inter-state or inter-regional boundaries as it were at that time, the responsibility for that should be vested by the Federal Government.

“So there is nothing unusual about it, and this is what is obtained everywhere in the world,’’ he said.

Adamu said Nigeria entered into a treaty with eight other countries in the early sixties to form the Niger Basin Authority, saying such partnership had seen the survival of Kainji and Jebba dams.

He urged all those with conflicting opinions to present them at the proposed public hearing, alleging that they were only determined to rubbish the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“You know, this bill went through so many things, including a review by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is one of the leading legal experts, experts on environmental law and their opinion is that there is nothing wrong with this bill.

“So, why tie it to politics when it should be tied to development. I think we should we should opt out of that cocoon for those that are opposed to the bill and please have an open mind about it and look at it,” Adamu said.

“We will continue to pursue this bill because it’s our responsibility as government and as the ministry and many experts were involved in this in the formulation of this bill for the past, close to 20 years,’’ he said.

The minister said he would not allow the actions of critics to mock efforts to reposition the water resources sector, saying the bill was the major instrument to make it happen.

“So, to the last day that I am Minister in this ministry, I will continue to pursue this bill to its logical conclusion,’’ he said.

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