Mr Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources
Gives details and benefits Nigeria stands to gain from law
Soni Daniel – Abuja
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, at the weekend laid bare the details of the National Water Resources Bill, now being considered by the National Assembly with a categorical declaration that there is nothing sinister or political about the proposed legislation.
According to the minister, the overall goal of the new legislation is to move the water resources sector in Nigeria forward by promoting efficiency, accountability and prosperity for the citizens.
Adamu, a water engineer, told journalists in Abuja that the bill is being considered to remove the bottlenecks that had held back investments in the nation’s water sector and to empower states and individuals to make the most from the vibrant sector of the economy.
According to the minister, the proposed bill does not introduce anything significantly new to the existing water laws in Nigeria as contained in the laws regulating the Water Resources Act of 1993, the River Basins Development Act, the National Water Resources Institute and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Commission but merely seek to bring all of them into one law.
Adamu said the bill, when passed into law, would not only strengthen states ability to partner with private sector players and attract the needed funding to boost water production and distributions but would also aid them to manage the sector efficiently for the benefit of the people.
“I am convinced beyond any doubt that the National Water Resources Bill is relevant and appropriate for Nigeria given the fact that more than 80 per cent of nations around the world have subscribed to the concept of Integrated Water Management, which seeks to promote citizens’ rights, eliminate hindrances to the management of water as an economic resource and help to empower the people,” the minister said.
“The bill is conceived in good faith and has no intention to usurp the powers of states, communities and individuals as widely insinuated by some sections in the country as the power to allocate land for any water-related project under the bill is still vested on the governors of the respective states in Nigeria,” Adamu explained.
The minister revealed that the only new addition envisaged by the water bill is a deliberate effort to improve irrigation in Nigeria with proper funding from international banking institutions and empower Nigerian farmers to derive more yield from their investments by making abundant water for them at little or no costs.
According to him, a total of 60,000 hectares of farmland is lost yearly due to poor irrigation facilities whereas the nation has the capacity to grow up to 130,000 hectares of irrigated farmland nationwide yearly.
“We are therefore contemplating an efficient irrigation management system for Nigeria under the water resources bill that will increase irrigation to at least 500,000 hectares of land by 2030,” the minister added.
The Minister also announced that the federal government actually want to use the new law to help states to get incentives to boost their water production capacity and make the resource readily available to the people given the high cost of water production equipment.
Engr Adamu disclosed that before the water bill was passed into law by the House of Representatives under the 8th National Assembly, it had received wide acceptance from all the states of the country and the six geo-political zones and was only awaiting concurrence by the Senate and wondered where the antagonists of the bill were getting negatives information about the bill.
Despite the strident opposition to the bill by some political actors and sections of the country, the minister said he was however optimistic that well-meaning Nigerians would see the inherent benefits and support the National Assembly to pass it into law for the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
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