The National President, Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners & Practitioners (AWDROP), Engr. Michael Ale, has advised Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to abolish N30,000 permit on borehole drilling in the state, saying the decision will make life more difficult for the citizens.
In a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen Ibadan on Thursday, the water expert noted that the state government government should be making decisions that will provide pure and potable water for the citizenry and not create unnecessary hardship on them, especially now that citizens are experiencing economic hardship.
According to him, It is no longer news that about 93 million Nigerians will go below the poverty line as published by the World Bank in 2022, as the current energy crises had heated up the life bearing capacity of many Nigerians.
Ale opined that the cost of diesel has gone up by two hundred per cent, which he said had affected the cost of drilling boreholes, adding that the number of Nigerians without access to safe drinking water had increased to 70 per cent as against 55 per cent in 2020.
He said: “The disparaging scenario is mind boggling because so many sub-national had abandoned water projects at the expense of road and other physical infrastructures which looks better and more acceptable to people.
Several Nigerians are left to their faith when it comes to water supply, especially the good people of Oyo State in the South Western part of the country.
“The unfortunate scenario is the issue of taxes and the levies on citizen before they can access the natural resources graciously given by God, because government had failed in their responsibility to provide pipe borne water system.
“When permits are made by the law, they are made to serve as an instrument for safety and not for financial inducement. The Oyo State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources through the respective consultants have perfected a means to make life unbearable for the citizen through their draconian law, which speculated that before anybody can draw water from underground through borehole drilling, a sum of N30,000 must be coughed out. This is outrageous and will make life unbearable for the good people of the state. Even in states where regulations works by the establishment of agency, nobody charges that amount of money in this hard time.
“This is a call to His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to temper justice with mercy and withdraw such law if it has been passed and made public or reduce the amount drastically, especially on citizens whose salary is just a take home and cannot even drill a well not to talk of borehole.
“Oyo State has the highest number of drilling rigs, hence, the need to regulate drilling operation is acceptable but this law should not be seen as a means of making money for the government at all cost. Yes, the government is looking for a means of increasing revenue which is a welcome development, nevertheless, we cannot at the expense of many people whose life may be threatened, deprive them of their right.
“Governor Seyi Makinde through the House of Assembly should first gazette this law, make it public and then sensitise the Oyo State dwellers before implementation.
“In the most suitable condition, Engr Seyi Makinde should please call for withdrawal and repealing of this draconian law,” Ale said.