Groups Protest Water Supply Privatisation In Lagos

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Civil Society
Organisations (CSOs) and some unions have protested against the privatisation of water supply in Lagos State.
They kicked against the state entering into any agreement under the guise of Public-Private Partnership to take over the management of Lagos State Water Corporation.
They made the call in an interview with our correspondent after a rally on the privatisation of the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC).
Our source reports that a rally was held on Wednesday by the groups to register their feelings on the proposed privatisation of LSWC.
The rally was convened by the Environmental Right Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in collaboration with many bodies within and outside the state.
The rally, which started from Ikeja under Bridge, terminated at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja.
The Deputy Director, ERA/FoEN Nigeria, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi,told our source that government must stop all forms of water privatisation in Lagos.
“We urge the government to stop any form of water privatisation in Lagos as privatisation is not the solution to the irregularities of water supply in the state.
“We are also against PPPs that are based on a model that has failed to uphold the human rights to water.
“In a letter written by ERA/FoEN to the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, we expressed our displeasure to the move of the World Bank and the state to introduce PPP.
“We also appealed to the speaker to propose and develop a comprehensive plan for achieving universal access to clean water in the state.’’
Olufemi said that what the state water corporation needed now was adequate funding for effective production.
“Recently, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode disbursed N100 million and as result of this, water is now available in some areas of the state.
“Again, if the LSWC is privatised, it will lead to retrenchment of staff and hike in the cost of service delivery to the people.’’
The Head of Media Department, ERA/FoEN, Mr Philip Jakpor, Mr Philip Jakpor, said water was a basic necessity and not a commodity.
“However, bad governance and corruption have not made it possible for the government to deliver their mandate.’’
Mrs Bimbo Oshobe of the Nigerian Slum/Settlement Informal Federation said the government should consider plights women would undergo without water.
“When water is lacking, it can deeply affect the home, a man can stay some days without bathing, but women cannot do without bathing a day.
“Women need water to cook, wash and clean the environment; the women and the children will also be the ones to walk long distances to fetch water.
“Water is a free gift from God and we plead with the government not to privatise it; privatisation is not the solution to every challenge, government needs to give us basic amenities.’’
Mr Obatanmi Odusanwo, Chairman, Union of Water Corporation, under the auspices of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), decried the supposed water privatisation plans.
“Private-Public Partnership is a means to exploit the masses; they want to sell the water corporation to known individuals.
“ In our view, we do not see PPP as a good idea; it will also mean a way to retrench our workers and increase the cost of service.’’
Responding on behalf of the speaker of LAHA, Mr Segun Olulade from Epe Constituency, said though the House was on recess, their grievances would be addressed.
According to Olulade, LAHA will stand by the people of the state, promising that the Assembly will look at every matter raised in the petition.