Senate revisits Water Resources Control Bill

Indication emerged Monday, that the Senate may soon revisit the contentious Water Resources Control Bill it threw out about 14 months ago, for possible passage into law.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, gave the indication during the screening of the former Water Resources minister, Suleiman Adamu.

The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives  but suffered defeat in the Senate when Bukola Saraki held sway as president of the red chamber.

Making the announcement, Lawan said the Bill was rejected because the then Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio misled Nigerians on the intentions of the documents.

Lawan said the two arms will work together to ensure that a water resource bill is brought to regulate that sector.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 forwarded the controversial bill to the Eighth National Assembly. The bill sought to give the federal government the powers to control the use of water resources.

The proposed legislation was presented by the then Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan, as it was customary for executive bills.

But in May 2018, the proposed legislation was stepped down during the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Water Resources, as senators were divided along party, regional and ethnic lines.

While northern senators, predominantly APC senators had supported the bill and its objectives, their southern counterparts, and PDP lawmakers, were strongly against it.

Opponents of the bill had pointed out that if passed into law, it would further centralise power and the nation’s resources. This, they argued, would counter the current move towards devolution of powers.

They criticised the move to create new Federal Government bodies to take over the responsibilities of the states on the water resources within their territories.

But speaking after the screening of Adamu on Monday, Lawan accused a former PDP senator who is now an APC chieftain and ministerial nominee, of sponsoring media reports to oppose the bill then.

Although Lawan did not mention the name of the senator, former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, led other opposition lawmakers to reject the bill on the floor of the chamber.

Lawan said: “Actually, Water Resources Bill was turned down unfortunately controversially by a senator and now he is on the side of government.

“I will just advise the honourable minister designate because I sponsored the bill on behalf of the federal government.

“I think at that time because maybe simple opposition somehow created a story around the bill.”

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