An attempt by the Federal Government to convince the Amalgamated Union of Civil Service Recreational and Technical Services Employees, AUPCTRE, and the African Corporate Responsibility and Public Participation, CAPPA, to support the controversial National Water Resources Bill was rejected. by the two groups. .
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and a team from his ministry met in Abuja on Tuesday with the leaders of AUPCTRE, which is an affiliate of the Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC, and CAPPA, which is a Civil Society Organization. , CSO, to ensure acceptance of the contentious bill.
AUPCTRE and CAPPA stood firm at the meeting and insisted that the sections in favor of privatization should be removed from the bill or else they should be thrown away.
The labor group and the CSO at the meeting reaffirmed their demands for the National Assembly to get rid of the National Water Resources Bill 2020, claiming that the bill did not address human rights issues and does not have the support of the Nigerians.
The meeting, which was at the minister’s request, followed national criticism that has followed the bill’s resurgence in the current Assembly after it failed to achieve simultaneous approval by both Houses in the Eighth Assembly in 2018.
AUPCTRE and CAPPA, in a press conference on August 21, 2020, raised fears that the bill will open the doors wide for privatizers to seize the nation’s water resources and they did so in a letter. jointly with President Muhammadu Buhari on September 3, 2020, cataloged unsightly sections of the bill and how they posed a danger to the achievement of the human right to water.
In the past two weeks, civil society and other groups have also criticized the bill. Nigerians and notable organizations that have opposed include the playwright and Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, Dr. Yinka Odumakin of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, and the Ijaw Youth Council.
The draft law, with a lengthy title, A Law to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, provides for the management, use and conservation of equitable and sustainable development of surface and groundwater resources in Nigeria and, otherwise, he has moved to second Reading in the current House of Representatives and has been referred to the House Business and Rules Committee.
AUPCTRE and CAPPA raised concerns about Sections 1, 2, 3, 13, 22, 24, 89, 98, 104, 105 and 107. As well as Sections 109, 110, 120, 121, 125, 129 and 131.
Speaking at the end of the meeting with the Minister, National President of AUPCTRE, Comrade Benjamin Anthony said: Our meeting with the Minister of Water Resources was very frank. The minister advanced the reasons why the bill should be approved, but we draw your attention to the contentious clauses that must be addressed.
“We reaffirm our opposition to this bill against the people and we urge the National Assembly to destroy it. The bill does not address human rights issues and is not supported by Nigerians “
Comrade Anthony insisted that the bill will strip Nigerian citizens of their inherited and cultural rights to water and should be scrapped immediately.
Also speaking, CAPPA Director of Programs, Philip Jakpor said: The content of the bill goes against the spirit of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of July 28, 2010 that recognized in unequivocal terms the human right to water and sanitation.
“Our position remains unchanged: President Buhari should use his good office to withdraw this controversial bill from the legislative sectors and launch a new process that will involve consultation and input from Nigerians from the beginning to the entire process. in the National Assembly ”.