Govs Direct State Attorneys General to Review Water Bill

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Kayode Fayemi

•To meet finance commissioners, others on economy

By Chuks Okocha

Governors of the 36 states of the federation have called on their Attorneys General to review the controversial National Water Resources Bill before they would take a position on it.

The governors have also resolved to play more active roles in the revival of the Nigerian economy and would schedule a meeting with state commissioners of finance, budget and planning.

These were some of the resolutions contained in a communique issued after the 17th Teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, held on Wednesday.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was released yesterday in Abuja.

According to the communique, the governors “while commending the Minister of Water Resources for taking an integrated approach to water resource management as a national good, resolved that the proposed Bill and other relevant laws, including the River Basins Development Authorities Act 2004; the Natural Water Resources Act 2004; and the Nigeria Hydrological Resources Act 2004 will be reviewed by their Attorneys General and Executive Councils of states after which a common position of the states will be presented to Water Resources.”

The communique said the decision was reached when the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, briefed the forum on the National Water Resources Bill 2020.

The minister emphasised that the basic philosophy behind the bill is to integrate water resources management in the country by bringing all laws related to water resources management into one consolidated code.

He noted that the new bill is consistent with the Land Use Act, and would promote equitable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources.

The governors resolved to schedule a more intensive session on economic management with their commissioners of finance, budget and planning based on the presentation of Mr. Bismarck Rewane, a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

Fayemi said: “The forum will be playing a strategic role in the forthcoming 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26), which is designed to focus on the sub-nationals as the frontiers for economic growth and development in the country.

“It will bring together local and global policymakers, business leaders, development partners, and scholars to lead and participate in sessions that will focus and participate in sessions that will focus on building strategic partnerships and cooperation between governments, business enterprises, and civil society.

“At least 18 governors will take part in physical and virtual high-level panel dialogues from 26th to 27th October 2020.”

The communique said the governors received further updates and presentations from Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which provided updates on behalf of NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
In his brief, the communique said, the governor highlighted the role of government in monitoring controls as the country welcomes international travellers.