The Nigerian Government says the National Water Resources Bill will be beneficial to all Nigerians, whenever it is signed into law.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu noted at the National Consultative Conference on Water-Use Regulations, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Framework in Abuja.
Adamu said that the bill would regulate the water sector in the country, adding, however, that even though water laws had been in existence since 2006, the bill was drafted in 2008.“I have made a statement on this bill to the media some time ago. Also, other stakeholders in the water sector have been commenting in the media, trying to explain what this bill is all about.
It appears that many people have not even read about the bill; they don’t understand it before coming out to comment publicly about it.
We have said that there is nothing new about it, as we have existing water laws; there are four existing laws that we have been consolidated into the new document”, he said.
He stated that the laws are the Water Resources Act of 2014, the National Water Resources Institute Act, the River Basin Act and Nigeria Hydrological Services Act.
‘‘We just introduced the concept of Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management, in line with the new water resources policy,’’ he said.
Adamu said that members of the Senate had asked all the relevant questions about the bill, while the key officials of the ministry had also responded to the enquiries.
He added that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had already set up committees to look at all the issues presented by the ministry concerning the content of the bill.
The minister commended the chairmen and members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Water Resources for their interest and enthusiasm in the National Water Bill.
Adamu said that the conference was apt, as it would address some of the critical issues which were also captured in the bill. “The conference is being organised at the right time, its theme is apt; this is further reinforced with the approval of the Water Use and Licence Regulation of 2016.
This regulation has spelt out water licensable activities and gave the responsibility of issuing licences to the Nigeria Integrated Water Resource Management Commission (NIWRMC).
The commission has drawn up relevant criteria for the issuance of such water permits for the corporate governance of the water sector in the country.
The criteria are to protect, conserve, control water resources for equitable and sustainable socio-economic development as well as to maintain environmental integrity, he explained.
He also said that the criteria are to ensure that public water services are supplied efficiently and economically, in accordance with standards of social, industrial and commercial needs of Nigerians.