The Nigerian Senate Throws Out The Divisive Water Bill That Buhari, The Former President, Had Supported.

On Tuesday, the senators rejected the bill after it was placed on the order paper for consideration and passage.

The contentious National Water Resources Bill promoted by the former President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government has ultimately been rejected by Nigerian federal senators.

On Tuesday, the senators rejected the bill after it was placed on the order paper for consideration and passage.

Recall that in 2017, Buhari submitted a bill to the Senate and House of Representatives that sought to give the federal government power over all water resources now under the jurisdiction of the states of the federation.

The immediate past President in the bill sought to establish the National Council on Water Resources, Nigeria Water Resources Regulatory Commission, River Basin Development Authorities, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, and the National Water Resources Institute.

According to the bill, the proposed bodies, if established, were to “provide for the regulation, equitable and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface water and groundwater resources.”

Notwithstanding widespread opposition to the bill since it was first introduced in the two legislative chambers, the Buhari administration pushed that the 9th National Assembly enact the legislation into law.

In 2020, the law was enacted by the House of Representatives despite opposition from both its supporters and the public.

Before the passage, Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, said the then Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as commissioners for justice and attorneys-general of the 36 states of the federation, had been consulted and the opinions received would be attached to the bill and distributed to all members.

But the rejection of the bill on Tuesday by the Senate has put an end to the controversy generated by the bill among governors and federal lawmakers mainly from the southern part of the country, PUNCH reports.

When the bill was read for concurrence on the floor of the Senate, Senator Gabriel Suswan from Benue North-West raised Order 85 of the Senate Rules, which provides that senators must have full details of the provisions of any bill coming for concurrence.

Also, Senator James Manager from Delta South, who seconded Senator Suswan stressed the need to have details of the bill since provision was made for only the title of the bill.

The Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, later ruled in favour of the rule cited, and thereafter, the red legislative chamber withheld concurrence to the bill, having ruled in favour of those who opposed it.