By Udora Orizu
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources, through the Nigeria Integrated Water Resource Management Commission (NIWRMC) has disclosed that operators of indiscriminate borehole drilling will be sanctioned and prosecuted for economic sabotage.
The Executive Director of the Commission, Mr. Magashi Bashir, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday, noted that the decision is part of its control measures for the borehole drillers in the country.
He said over the years, the subsector has been indiscriminately exploited by some of the operators to the detriment of the public, adding that the commission is poised to bring sanity to the subsector.
He implored operators in the industry to obtain permit from the commission, saying that it will push for a declaration of a state of emergency in the water resources subsector.
He said: ”Water is critical to the sustenance of life, and this means the efficient and effective regulation of our water resources in an integrated manner is an important element to human existence as well as key to prosperity. The groundwater subsector is very important to the socioeconomic development of any nation. The groundwater resources will also be protected from chemical contamination from our industries and allied plants.”
Bashir further said the commission has so far issued about 23 water licences, and many more applications are being processed.
He also said it will be monitoring the activities of all companies issued water licences to ensure they operate within the terms and conditions of the licences given to them, and refusal or failure to obtain the water use licence is a clear violation of the Water Resources Act Cap W2 LFN 2004 and constitutes an offence, liable to prosecution in a court.
”Currently, we are developing a Water Source Protection Plan, which will protect both surface and ground water sources against pollution and restoration of sound river health. The commission is encouraging research and development of more water sources from willing partners. The commission is focused on improving the water supply sources and advocating the sustainable management and regulation of water resource in its entirety. The commission developed a Water Strategic Development Plan intended to provide for present and future water needs as well as support collaboration between the government and MDA’s and states with responsibilities for water management.
”Water is the newly discovered oil, the commission has generated revenue through licensing which has contributed to the economic revenue base, poverty alleviation, and job opportunities for the teeming youth, and growth of the economy,” he added