Awka-Anambra State House of Assembly has kicked against the passage of National Water Resources Bill, 2020 which has passed through second reading on the floor of the National Assembly.
The lawmakers had called for a public hearing to be conducted on the National Water Resources Bill, 2020, before its final passage, saying that the bill was not people-oriented.
This resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored under Matters of Urgent Public Importance by Mr Timothy Ifedioranma representing Njikoka 1 state constituency during plenary on Sept. 3.
The Speaker, Mr Uche Okafor, who presided over the plenary session, had put up the motion while the lawmakers unanimously adopted it through voice votes, which he described the motion as timely.
In his submission, Mr Ifedioranma averred that the bill when passed would impose infringements to citizens’ right to water, which is a basic necessity of life.
“Mr Speaker, it is quite disheartening that in spite of laxity and inability of the various tiers of government to provide portable water to the populace, the Nigerian citizens in their usual dogged nature dig boreholes as an alternative means of making water available, only for the National Assembly to come up with this obnoxious bill.
“In very clear and express terms, the Bill seeks to bring all water sources under the control of the Federal Government through its agencies to be established by the Bill.’’
He listed some provisions of the Bill to include making it compulsory for Nigerians to obtain a driller’s permit before sinking boreholes in their homes and entry into land in furtherance of duties.
“An authorised person may, at any reasonable time and on production of their identity cards or other instrument or certificate of designation if so required, enter a property with the necessary persons, vehicles, equipment and materials in order to carry out routine inspections of the use of water or disposal of waste water under any authorization.
“No person shall use water otherwise than as permitted under this Act,’’ Ifedioranma decried.
“A close look at the bill shows that its overriding objective is to vest in the Federal Government the total control of all the fresh water resources across Nigeria.
“The implications are numerous. If the bill is passed into law, the rights of citizens over fresh water resources- ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, springs will be eroded.
“It will be illegal, under the circumstance, for any person, anywhere, including in the remote villages, to sink a borehole, for instance, without permit from the Federal Government.
“Borehole permit will have to be obtained from Abuja and getting it will be most difficult.
“It is quite unfortunate that we have this Bill to contend with, at a time like this when we should encourage drilling of water provided that the necessary environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
“The essence of water to human existence can never be overemphasised, do we talk about the importance of water to Agriculture or the importance of water in production of goods and services.
“Or the importance of water in Civil and Building Construction or the domestic uses of water?’’
The lawmakers that spoke in favour of the bill are Mr Obinna Emeneka representing Anambra East constituency, Mr Pete Ibida, representing Njikoka 11 constituency and Mr Nonso Smart Okafor representing Nnewi North state constituency.
They vehemently condemned the Bill, describing it as posing great danger to human lives, saying that water was essential to the healthy living of people.
Source: Anambra State Government