The submission of the National Water Resources Bill to the National Assembly by Mr. President on April 11, 2017 have generated several misrepresentations and indeed divisive comments by some persons on the content and intent of the Bill, thus there is need to offer these insights into the content, intent and policy direction of the executive bill.
Senator Ita Enang addressing journalists in the Senate press corps, said the Bill is intent on consolidating some of all the laws on the water resources sector into one body of laws whereby when you pick up the water Resources Act, you will find therein all the laws hitherto existing as different laws in different volumes of the laws of the federation. The Bill will bring into one body of consolidated, harmonized and updated body of existing laws, the Water Act Cap, the Nigeria Hydrological Agency Act, the National Water Institute Act Cap and the River Basin Development Authority Act Cap among others which were made at different times, regulating different aspects of water resources sector and contained in different volumes and chapters of the laws of the federation.
Ita referred the allegation that Mr. President’s Bill intends to take control of the waterways from the state government and control against their interest, as a mischief.
Ita preliminarily drew the attention of the press to Provisions of the 1999 Constitution which provides in the Exclusive legislative list, item 64 and the National Inland Waterways Authority Authority Act, mandate per section 2 and 3 thereof to: improve and develop inland waterways for navigation, provide an alternative mode of transportation for the evacuation of economic goods and persons; and execute the objectives of the national transport policy as they concern inland waterways. To ensure the development of infrastructural facilities for a national inland waterways network connecting the creeks and the rivers with the economics centres using the river-ports as nodal points for intermodal exchange; and ensure the development of indigenous technical and managerial skill to meet the challenges of modern inland waterways transportation.
On the question of Mr. President appropriating waterways to the Federal Government, expropriating from the states, may i say that the provision of the water resources act, 1993, laws of the Federation is only imported and no new provision.