Former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, has reacted against the plan of the National Assembly to pass the Water Resources Bill into law.
She noted that, given the mismanagement of resources by the current administration, the Bill would not do the country any good if passed into law.
The bill emerged to concentrate the control of water resources around Rivers Niger and Benue, which cut across 19 states, in the hands of the Federal Government.
It also seeks to empower the Federal Government to take over water resources from states, licence the supply and commercialise the use of surface and underground waters, which riverine states in the country considered as unnecessary.
States to be affected by the bill include Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Plateau and Kebbi.
Oby, who reacted to the development via her verified Twitter handle on Thursday, condemned the plan to arrogate the control of waters to the Federal Government.
She lamented the utter failure of the Federal Government to properly execute the constitutional policies contained in the Exclusive List.
“I have read through the Water Resources Bill and sincerely advise the National Assembly to not pass it. No. There’s simply too much going on in those proposals that must be unpacked.
Deepening centralization? No, please”, the tweet read.
“Reading through that Water Resources Bill gave one serious headache. The intent, content and tone showed a complete lack of capacity to learn from our present failures in Governance. The law proposed could have been a dressed-up Military Decree. Please, don’t pass it.
“A simple test of appropriateness of the Water Resources Bill as proposed is to answer this core question: How well has the Center- that is, the Federal Government performed on all centralized management of resources and institutions that are best localized? This is key.
“There is a legitimate concern of how we as a country can more effectively and equitably manage our cross-boundary waters. However the provisions that allows the Federal Government to arrogate the power to handle this, must stop. We have too much on the Exclusive List. Too much.
“Capacity to research, propose, dialogue and design effective laws that help us govern our Shared Assets like waters, efficiently and equitably, in our Federation is seriously lacking. It is obvious in the Water Resources Bill.
There’s more work needed before that Bill is drafted.
“I therefore appeal to the National Assembly to please not rush the Water Resources Bill as is through passage. It would be another Frankenstein Monster that will do the country no good. Let’s recommence a process for designing a simple and effective Law on Water”, it added.
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