National Assembly urged to reject water bill as minister calls for review | The Guardian Nigeria News
Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has again called on the National Assembly to reject the controversial Water Resources Bill.
The bill was reintroduced on June 29, 2022 for first reading by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Water Resources Committee, Sada Soli of Katsina State.
The bill, which was originally introduced and rejected by lawmakers in the Eighth Assembly following a public outcry, was reintroduced in the current Ninth National Assembly in 2020, but again faced backlash negative feedback from Nigerians, forcing the Federal Legislature to withdraw it.
On September 15, 2020, CAPPA and the Amalgamated Union of Public Service Enterprises, Technical Employees and Leisure (AUPCTRE) led a delegation of civil society and labor allies to a meeting with the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Hussein Adamu, where a clause-an analysis of the provisions was submitted with specific recommendations summarizing public voices and concerns.
Contentious areas from the previous version include Article 98 which states that “the use of water is subject to the provisions of authorisation; Section 120 which required Nigerians to obtain a driller’s license before digging a borehole and Section 107 which states that a license can be revoked if the holder fails to make ‘beneficial’ use of water .
CAPPA asks who determines the beneficial use of water. Some of the problematic provisions identified in the previous bill are still recycled in the “revised” version, he noted.
If passed, the bill would empower the federal government to control all water resources in the country, including rivers, streams, lakes and underground.
The group also argues in favor of the public-private partnership (PPP) water privatization model.
In a statement in Abuja, however, CAPPA described the so-called revised version of the bill as being exactly the same as the one which has been “strongly rejected by Nigerians and interest groups”.
According to the group, the reintroduction of the bill is an insult to Nigerians.
Its chief executive, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “It is unpleasing that the promoters have not considered any of the objections but have only moved them to other sections with the intention of misleading the Nigerians.”
He explained that a clause-by-clause analysis of the new bill conducted by CAPPA shows that regardless of the “repackaging and rearranging of its clauses and some amendments, the bill still fails miserably to meet the obligations of integrate the principles of the human right to water and sanitation.
HOWEVER, the Minister, Adamu, pleaded with Nigerians to give careful consideration to the Bill.
Appealing to Abuja, he insisted that there was no provision in the bill that usurps the powers of state governments over land.
He lamented that while they yearned for better water services in the country, “some unpatriotic citizens oppose the government’s efforts to try to improve the situation through the introduction of the bill “.