The water resource bill, if passed into law, would hand the president “absolute control over the nation’s entire water resources, both over and underground. ”
The bill, which failed to get a concurrent passage by both Houses in the Eighth Assembly, has passed second reading in the House of Representatives and has been referred to a House committee.
Last week, civil society groups, including the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), frowned at several provisions in the bill which would breach Nigerians the right to water
For instance, Section 98 of the bill states that “the use of water shall be subject to licencing provisions.” Section 107 says that a licence may be cancelled if the licencee “fails to make beneficial use of the water.” Section 120 makes it compulsory for Nigerians to obtain a driller’s permit before sinking a borehole in their homes.
Other controversial provisions in the bill include:
Sec. 104 – Emergency powers in case of shortage of water
(1) (b) direct a person who has a supply of water in. excess of his needs for domestic purposes to reduce the amount he is permitted to abstract under the terms of any licence or general authorization.
Sec. 125 – Entry onto land in furtherance of duties
(2) An authorized person’ may, at any reasonable time and on production of their identity card or other instrument or certificate of designation if so required, enter a property with the necessary persons, vehicles, equipment and material in order to carry out routine inspections of the use of water or disposal of waste water under any authorization.
Sec 131 – Non-compliance
(1) No person shall-
(a) use water otherwise than as permitted under this Act;