The Passage of the National Water Resources Bill, a Great Blessing to Nigeria
Taking a critical look at the Water Resources Bill, a group of NGOs/CSOs , comprising of Civil society groups for good governance, Niger Delta Elites Forum, Value Reorientation and Developmental Initiative Africa, Collation of Entertainment practitioners, Tricycle owners association of Nigeria (TOAN), Continuity in Governance Initiative (CIGI) has appealed to various stakeholders to review the Water Resources Bill which will be beneficial to the country as a whole, and consider its passage.
The Bill was initiated by the previous Government in 2006 and the present administration saw the importance and need for the implementation of the Bill. Having done our review, it is important to call on various stakeholders from the Senators, to Governor’s forum and other interest group to advocate for quick passage of the Bill. From studies and findings, we have discovered that those actually calling for the non-passage of the Bill have not read or studied the bill to know it’s importance.
The ownership of Water Bill still belongs to the States and Communities, and not the Federal Government. There are so many benefits of the Bill. For example: how do you punish those polluting the water and those practicing open defecating, if the relevant Bill is not passed to punish the offenders. To mention but a few, here are some the benefits of the Water Bill which the critics of the Bill have not told the world.
Highlights of the benefits of the National Water Resources Bill
1.Establish effective water sector governance in Nigeria in line with global best practices.
2. Provide for effective catchment management
3. Provide for equitable and sustainable development of Nigeria’s surface and ground water.
4. Enhance a greater participation of farmers in irrigation management and improvement in food security.
5. Provide the regulatory framework for private sector participation in water supply delivery in the country.
6. Provide for a Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) FUND to support financial investment by States & Local Govt. Areas (LGAs) in the provision of WASH services and investment in Water supply infrastructure.
7. Provide the required legal instrument to support efficient management of the Nation’s water resources and accelerate the contribution of the water sector to national development in accordance with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles.
8. It will promote equitable and affordable access to water and reducing poverty
9. Accelerate foreign direct investment opportunities and job creation in the Water Sector.
10. Guarantee citizens right of access to safe water and basic sanitation.
11. Provide for meeting the basic human needs of present and future generations.
12. Protecting the water environment for sustainability of the water resources and protecting of aquatic ecosystems.
In developed countries of the World, similar laws are already in place which aids them in enforcing necessary regulations, and accessing relevant global water development funds for the countries of which Nigeria is still lacking behind. It is on this note that we are calling on relevant stakeholders to add their voices and encourage the speedy passage of the National Water Resources Bill.