Sada Soli, a member of the house of representatives from Katsina state, says the lower legislative chamber will pass a bill seeking to regulate water resources in the country.
The bill seeks to bring water resources – both surface and underground — and the banks of the water sources “affecting more than one state” under the control of the federal government.
Although the previous house passed the bill, the senate did not pass it. The proposed law was reintroduced in the current assembly by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Wole Soyinka, playwright and Nobel laureate, is among many Nigerians that have condemned the bill.
Speaking with THISDAY, Soli dismissed claims that the bill is seeking to give the federal government more power.
The legislator said those criticising the bill do not have understanding of it, describing the opposition against it as “deep-seated hatred for this government policy”.
“The bill can’t be stepped down because the House has passed it already; the lawmakers that are saying that they will step it down or that it was introduced illegally is because, may be, they were not there on the floor of the house when the members were given the opportunity to look at the bill not once or twice,” he said.
“Remember it was passed by the eighth assembly. If people have something against the legislation, let them point it out and then it could be amended to conform to the wishes of Nigerians.
“If you don’t understand something or have an idea about something, the easiest thing is that you will misconceive the whole idea. On the claims about the bill being RUGA in disguise, people should not display their parochial mindset
“We need to harness, develop and protect our water resources. Or will you just allow our water resources at the mercy of other sovereignty? These are the innovations the federal government is trying to bring by putting all these legislations together is have one common legislation for the water sector so that it’s easy to manage and protect.
“The governor of Benue state Samuel Ortom, Wole Soyinka and others talking about this bill didn’t read it. I’m looking for an opportunity to meet these elder statesmen to educate them.
“They are being informed about something that does not exist. Maybe the backlash is political; maybe they feel it’s an achievement of this current government and they don’t want it.”