Editorial

Does Nigeria actually need the Water Resources Control Bill?

To the disbelief of some Nigerians, the Water Resources Control Bill has been re-introduced in the National Assembly with the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu reportedly upbeat that it would be passed into law in its second coming to the Parliament.

 

Some concerned citizens have spoken out condemning the push by the Executive Branch of Government to ensure the passage of the obnoxious Bill in the face of mountain-high opposition.

 

The citizens and their communities have conveyed their reservations with regard to the bill to the individual lawmakers and the National Assembly. New Telegraph finds it unacceptable that the executive arm of government would bend backwards to reportedly lobby the National Assembly for a successful re-introduction of the Water Resources Control Bill. What does the Federal Government (FG) intend to achieve by working towards the actualisation of a law which is as life- threatening as an individual opening his/ her doors and windows to a set of approaching lions?

The Minister of Water Resources has consistently made claims to the effect that the bill, being a people-oriented one, would not lead to the dispossession of the ancestral lands of communities.

The minister has also assured the people that the purpose of the bill was to ensure fair and equitable distribution of water resources across the country. If truly the Water Resources Control Bill had been peopleoriented, why is the executive branch of government losing sleep over it? Why did it not allow the different communities to be the spearheads of a supposedly people-oriented bill?

Engineer Adamu’s assurances are unlikely to make people lower their guard regarding their diligent surveillance over their ancestral communities.

The attacks on some host communities by settlers are well-remembered by Nigerians. The acts of terror are usually fuelled by factors such as political and economic domination as well as land-grabbing and control of other natural endowments including water.

The minister’s sermon with regard to ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of the abundant water resources across the nation is insincere, provocative and illogical.

Such a holier-than-thou attitude portrays the FG as one that strategises with human beings in the daytime and collaborates with the spirits at night to dismantle what has been put to place by human beings?

Why should fairness, justice and equity suddenly become principles of concern with regard to the water resources that are domiciled in some communities in abundance in the south? Gold is found in commercial quantities in Zamfara State but it was reportedly stated that the solid mineral deposit is solely for the state.

We are aware that the fairness, justice and equityoriented sermons were not preached in respect of the distribution of the fortune associated with the gold in the state. In line with the principle of Federal Character, Nigerians from different parts of the country are expected to be appointed to different positions including the strategic ones without compromising meritocracy. But it is common knowledge that Nigerians from a certain part of the country have been appointed to such strategic positions. In some instances, meritocracy has been found to be brushed aside.

New Telegraph admonishes the FG to keep a respectable distance from the Water Resources Control Bill, which is an ill-wind that blows no one any good. Why should the FG continue on the path of over-centralization of duties at a time when the demand of the populace is tilted in favour of the decentralization of responsibilities?

Such disregard of the people’s wish is indefensible and portrays the objective of the executive branch of government as ulterior. The continued push of the FG to ensure the passage of the bill portrays the government as sectional, which does further damage to her reputation. The retention of the confidence is important, as it confers legitimacy on the government.

This could only be actualized by the readiness of the government to implement policies and programmes that have the people’s endorsement like the fight against insecurity and jettison those rejected by them like the Water Resources Control Bill. New Telegraph urges the executive branch of government to encourage states including the drought-ravaged ones to invest vigorously in the construction of irrigation facilities and dams.

This would help them boost their supply of water for domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural purposes. One significant way of helping to bring about this is to accelerate the decentralization of powers/ responsibilities.

This would help make it possible for states to earn revenue while becoming more productive.

The Water Resources Control Bill should be avoided like a plague in order to keep the nation more united. Flushing out the terrorists at the speed of light from the people’s neighbourhoods and forests should be of immediate concern to the executive branch of government and not the Water Resources Control Bill, which is not on the wish-list of a majority of the populace.

 

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