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AUPCTRE, CAPPA meet minister, reject Water Resources Bill

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Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) have asked the National Assembly to discard the National Water Resources Bill 2020.

According to a statement made available to The Guardian, AUPCTRE and CAPPA met with the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, in Abuja yesterday and restated their opposition to the controversial bill.

The meeting, which was held at the behest of the minister, followed nationwide criticism that trailed the re-emergence of the bill in the National Assembly after the 8th Assembly rejected it in 2018.

AUPCTRE and CAPPA had in a media briefing on August 21, 2020 raised concerns that the bill would give privatisers the leeway to seize the nation’s water resources.

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari dated September 3, 2020, the groups also cited obnoxious sections of the bill and how they posed danger to the attainment of the human right to water.

Also, in the past two weeks, civil society groups and individuals, including Professor Wole Soyinka and leaders of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), had criticised the bill vehemently.

The bill, entitled ‘An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, provide for the equitable and sustainable development management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface Water and Ground Water Resources and for related matters’, has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives and has been referred to the House Committee on Rules and Business

Specifically, AUPCTRE and CAPPA are concerned about Sections 1, 2, 3, 13, 22, 24, 89, 98, 104, 105 and 107 and Sections 109, 110, 120, 121, 125, 129 and 131.

At the end of the meeting with Adamu, AUPCTRE National President, Benjamin Anthony, said: “Our meeting with the Minister of Water Resources was very frank. The minister gave reasons the bill should pass, but we drew his attention to the contentious clauses that must be addressed.

“We restate our opposition to the anti-people bill and urge the National Assembly to discard it. The bill fails to address human rights issues and does not enjoy the support of Nigerians.”

Anthony insisted that the bill would dispossess Nigerian citizens of their inherited and cultural rights to water and should be discarded immediately.

On his part, CAPPA Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, said: “The content of the bill is against the spirit of the July 28, 2010 United Nations General Assembly Resolution, which recognised the human rights to water and sanitation.

“Our position remains unchanged: President Buhari should recall the contentious bill from the legislature and begin a fresh process, which will entail consultation and inputs from all Nigerians from the beginning through the entire process at the National Assembly.”


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