A Bill for a policy and legal framework for water administration in Nigeria passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The debate on the National Water Resources (NWR) Bill 2017, sponsored by the Executive, was led by the Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, at plenary.
Gbajabiamila told the house that the objective of the Bill was to ensure that issues relating to allocation and use of water resources were properly identified and managed.
“The National Water Resources Bill has been drafted to actualize the policy direction of the current administration as approved. More importantly, it represents current global trends and best practice in integrated water resources management,” he said.
“The Bill is a framework comprising provisions that impact all aspects of water resources management in Nigeria.The philosophy behind this framework is multifarious,’’ Gbajabiamila explained.
According to him, the NWR Bill provides a framework for all sector agencies as well as their clarified and articulated roles.
“The Bill also provides for the establishment of the Nigeria Water Resources Regulatory Commission (NWRRC). The NWRRC is with the mandate of developing standards, water allocation, pricing and providing technical guidance to the sector,’’ he added.
He disclosed that the Bill had 14 parts and 139 sections.
“Part 8 deals with water resources planning and management, and development of strategies to facilitate the proper management of water resources at national basin levels. It includes periodic development of National Water Resources Strategy by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. Part 9 deals with licensing; part 11 cover issues of borehole drilling and part 13 provides for offences and list of actions to be taken when contravention of provisions of the Bill occurs,’’ he said.
Many lawmakers spoke in favour of the bill, describing it as a step in the right direction.
Consequently, it was unanimously adopted when the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, put it to voice vote.
The house referred the bill to the Standing Committee on Water Resources for further action.