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Buhari asks lawmakers to pass water bill

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Assembly to pass the National Water Resources Bill. President Buhari spoke Thursday at a ceremony for the commissioning…

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Assembly to pass the National Water Resources Bill.

President Buhari spoke Thursday at a ceremony for the commissioning of the Zobe Regional Water Supply Scheme in Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State.

It would be recalled that the reintroduction of National Water Resources Bill 2020 in the National Assembly had generated worrying reaction from different parts of the country.

Titled ‘A Bill for An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, Provide for the Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment, Management, Use and Conservation of Nigeria’s Surface Water and Groundwater Resources and for Related Matter,’ the piece of legislation, if passed, will concentrate the control of water resources around rivers Niger and Benue as well as other water ways in the hands of the Federal Government.

The controversial parts of the Bill include the part that vests ownership of water bodies on the federal government and the part that mandates citizens to get federal permission to drill bore holes in their homes or businesses premises.

The President, however, called on state governments to build stronger partnerships with Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to provide infrastructure that will meet the growing needs of Nigerians.

President Buhari, in a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu, said the administration would work towards ensuring that all Nigerians, irrespective of location in the country, had access to adequate potable water supply and sanitation facilities as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals target by 2030.

“However, for this national aspiration to be realized, we need to mobilize funds from all sources including the private sector. This is where the need for quick passage of the National Water Resources Bill that made provision for the National WASH Fund, as well as regulatory environment for private sector involvement in the sector, become relevant.

“I therefore call on the National Assembly to give attention to the Bill towards its passage into law as soon as possible,” he added.

He urged the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, who signed an agreement ceremony to take over the project from the Federal Government, and community leaders to operate the facility efficiently, and jealously guard against vandalization.

In his remarks, the Kastina State Governor, who said the Federal Government had shown strong commitment to the development of communities, pointed out that the Zobe Regional Water scheme would address a major concern by supplying water for households, businesses and farms.

He said the project had to be separated into two phases in 2016 to enable completion, noting that by 2018 the first phase had been completed to provide more than 50 million litres of water to some communities in the state.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Hussein Adamu, said 106 water projects were left uncompleted by various administrations, and the Federal Government would keep working hard to ensure that Nigerians get adequate supply of water.

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