By Our Reporter
State governors have resolved to review the contentious Water Resources Bill in order to present a common position to the federal government.
The Bill has continued to generate controversy as some prominent socio- cultural groups have rejected it.
The Bill intends to empower the Minister of Water Resources to formulate policies and strategies to manage Nigeria’s water resources, and disallow any entity from commencing borehole drilling business without a government licence, while its regulations will be binding and enforceable under the law.
The proposed law will set up a Water Resources Regulatory Commission that will, among other things, issue licences to persons or corporate organisations to undertake abstractions of surface and ground waters, public and private irrigation, drainage systems, and diversion or impoundment of water for mining purposes.
The controversial bill also seeks to give powers to the minister to grant permission for construction and operation of hydraulic structures for rivers, dams, water intake barrages or artificial bars across rivers, groynes or barriers to check erosion, water bed and bank stabilisation dykes or trenches, polders or reclaimed land, wells, discharge of industrial and agricultural wastes into water bodies, sand dredging and rock removals in rivers.
But in a communique issued Thursday after a teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum ( NGF), Ekiti State Governor and chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi, said all the water related bills will be reviewed by the executive council and Attorneys-General of states.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had earlier briefed the Forum on the National Water Resources Bill 2020.
Adamu during his presentation, emphasized that the basic philosophy behind the Bill is to integrate water resources management in the country by bringing all laws related to water resources management into one consolidated code.
According to him, the new Bill is consistent with the Land Use Act, and will promote equitable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources.
The communique stated that “Forum members while commending the Minister of Water Resources for taking an integrated approach on water resource management as a national good, resolved that the proposed Bill and other relevant laws including the River Basins Development Authorities Act 2004; the Natural Water Resources Act 2004; and the Nigeria Hydrological Resources Act 2004 will be reviewed by their Attorneys General and Executive Councils of States after which a common position of States will be presented to Water Resources.”
The Forum also resolved to play a strategic role in the forthcoming 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26) which, is designed to focus on the sub-nationals as the frontiers for economic growth and development in the country.
According to Fayemi, “it will bring together local and global policy makers, business leaders, development partners and scholars to lead and participate in sessions that will focus on building strategic partnerships and cooperation between governments, business enterprises and the civil society.”
The NGF also commended the World Bank for facilitating ongoing activities geared towards accelerating the uptake of the CARES programme during the COVID-19 period and meet with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the terms of the programme.
Fayemi said: “Schedule a more intensive session on economic management with their Commissioners of Finance and Budget and Planning on the back of the presentation of Rewane Bismarck Rewane member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.
“Partner with KAINOS Edge Consulting in conducting a Household Survey designed to gather data, analyze, generate and publish insights on the household economy across the 36 States of Nigeria and the FCT. This Survey will cover household demographics, decision-making and wellbeing characteristics,” he stated.