The Water Resources Bill has provisions that will further entrench democratization of agricultural processes in the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu in Abuja, while answering questions at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum, on the bill which has generated public debate during the year.
Adamu said one of the provisions is the empowerment of irrigation farmers to form water users associations through which they will be able to utilize part of charges they have been paying to the Treasury Single Account.
He said the money will then be put in a pool to be used by the farmers in managing the secondary and tertiary irrigation infrastructures themselves.
“It is another empowerment for our irrigation farmers. That way, there will be more efficiency in the irrigation system as they will not be waiting until the Federal Government comes from Abuja to rehabilitate after 10,20, years when the system is down,” Adamu explained.
The minister disclosed that the bill makes the citizenry to be part of the decision making process of developing the water resources of the country.
Adamu gave the case of Kafin Zaki Dam in Bauchi State to support his argument.
According to him, the farmers in the Yobe State downstream part of the dam kicked against the construction, saying it will have negative impact on them.
Adamu said as a result of this, the Federal Government had to halt work on the project to consult with the people.
“The Federal Government was compelled to hold and say, let us do a rigorous environmental impact assessment which we will now come and present to the people and convince the people that it is okay, it is possible.
“But, before now as Minister of Water Resources, it is just for me to say, go and execute this project, and that is it, nobody will have any say,” he said.