By Tosin Kolade
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has called for support in implementing the National Water Resources bill, saying it is not targeted at grabbing the land and waterways of states.
Adamu made the call at the ongoing Advocacy and Sensitisation workshop on implementation of the 2013 Water Resources Masterplan in Abuja.
He explained that the bill would give direction for effective water resources development and management in the country.
The bill which triggered controversy in the National Assembly between 2017 and 2020 has now been reintroduced to the National Assembly.
The bill had sparked outrage as many Nigerians interpreted the proposed law as a plot to grab the waterways and hand same to Fulani pastoralists.
Adamu blamed the rejection of the bill on vested interests, saying the bill was reworked and returned to the National Assembly for passage.
“This bill has nothing to do with issues of land grabbing or so, all grey areas have been addressed and we are confident that the National Assembly will address the issues.
“Although there are some people that have some vested interests, like regulation especially for commercial use of water, this is something they do not want to do.
“Some of them do not want to pay the necessary taxes to government for mining these water, as they are mining the water illegally.’’
He said not much progress was achieved in implementing the national water resources masterplan due to poor coordination from the tiers of government.
The minister said that the workshop was an opportunity for participants to re-strategise and be detailed, saying all projects and programmes must align with the plan.
Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, said the knowledge at the workshop would enhance service delivery which would in turn help the nation’s socio-economic development.
Walson-Jack, was represented by Mrs Alice Ojowu, Director, Water Resources Planning and Technical Services with the ministry.
Tthe sensitisation workshop is the last lap of the National Advocacy and Sensitisation workshop carried out in the six geo-political zones. (NAN)