Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.
Ladies and Gents, it is really the end times if we cannot agree on water, of all things. Fela must be turning in his grave: “Water, e don get enemy?”
Why are people angry?
Many prominent Nigerians, including Professor Wole Soyinka, have opposed the National Water Resources bill 2020.
They say that it is an agenda by the government to seize people’s water resources for Fulani herdsmen.
They also say the government’s plan to control all waters, both underground and everywhere else, is a denial of people’s right to ownership and access to water.
The Nigerian government claims that:
- The previous water resources laws are being brought together under one law in line with international best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).
- The bill has no hidden agenda. It is for the good of the country.
- The bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and groundwater for the use of the people.
What is in the bill?
Section 2 of the bill states that waters that affect more than one state are vested in the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is this section of the bill that many people are angry about.
Section 119 of the bill also provides that: No person or corporate body shall commence or carry any kind of borehole drilling business in Nigeria without a Water Well Driller’s License issued by the Nigeria Water Resources Regulatory Commission.
For more, you can read the bill here.
Should people be angry about the bill?
The government has claimed that there is nothing new in this bill, and that its content is exactly the same as in the previous Water Resources Act in 2004.
But people are still paranoid about the effects of the bill. Therefore, the best solution is for the government to find a meeting ground with people and put their fears to rest.
Public trust is key when making laws.
Check back every weekday by 10 a.m. for more Zikoko Citizen stories.
One year ago, we left Nigeria for an 80-day adventure across West Africa. Something is coming. Unshared stories. New perspectives. Limited series. 10 episodes. Check out: Jollofroad.com
Also, read this: “We Just Dey Start” – We Went On Jollof Road, What Next?