Governors of the 36 states have resolved that each state’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice engages in a thorough analysis of the controversial National Water Resources Bill 2020 and related provisions before taking a joint position on the issue.
The governors took the position at the 17th teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on Wednesday, after a presentation by the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu on the Bill and related issues.
According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, which was made available on Thursday by the NGF’s secretariat, “the minister emphasized 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 will promote equitable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources. “
After listening to the minister, the governors, according to the communique signed by NGF’s Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, commended the Minister of Water Resources for taking an integrated approach on water resource management as a national good.
They “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 States will be presented to Water Resources Minister.”
The governors also resolved to schedule a more intensive session on economic management with their Commissioners of Finance and Budget and Planning following a presentation by a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane on the state of the economy.
Rewane had, in his presentation, highlighted the deteriorating economic condition in the country as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and called for informed response from governments to steer the country to a v-shaped economic recovery in 2021.
The NGF commended the World Bank for facilitating ongoing activities geared towards accelerating the uptake of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) program during the COVID-19 period and resolved to meet with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the terms of the programme.
The World Bank Country Director , Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri in company of the Bank’s Lead Specialist on the Nigeria CARES Program, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, had, at the meeting, provided NGF’s members with an update on the Nigeria COVID CARES Programme for Results.
The objective of the Nigeria COVID CARES Programme for Results, the communiques added, “is to fund investments at the State level aimed at protecting livelihoods and food security for vulnerable families and facilitating economic recovery for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country”
Accoding to the communique, the World Bank “called for greater support for State Focal Persons and the institutions responsible for implementing the program, including the Social Safety Net, the Community and Social Development Agencies (CSDA), and the FADAMA and SME platforms.
“Governors were also called to establish a State CARES Coordination Unit in their Ministries of Budget and Planning to ensure proper coordination with other ministries, departments and agencies.”
The meeting also witnessed a presentation from the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who provided updates, on behalf of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“In his brief, the Governor highlighted the role of government in monitoring controls as the country welcomes international travellers. This includes the requirement for Travellers to present credible COVID-19 PCR Test results in order to safeguard the health of the populace;
“The Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Council and Governor of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu briefed the Forum on the activities of the National Food Security Council as it concerns agricultural development and food security in the country.”
Fayemi equally briefed the meeting on preparations from 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 policy makers, business leaders, development partners and scholars to lead and participate in sessions that will focus on building strategic partnerships and cooperation between governments, business enterprises and the civil society.
“At least 18 Governors will take part in physical and virtual high-level panel dialogues from 26th – 27th October 2020,” the communique said.