Nigeria: Groups Take Anti-water Privatization Protest To Lagos Ministry

The Lagos State government has been asked to reject all forms of corporate control of water and privatisation of water services, including through the so-called “public-private partnerships,” with a call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to mobilise enough resources needed to address the infrastructural decay which had brought water production to record low at the public waterworks in a state of over 24 million people.

This much was said by Civil society and labour activist groups under the Our Water, Our Right movement. The movement includes Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), and the Joint Action Front (JAF), among others.

The groups made the call in a petition to the Lagos State Government through the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Tunji Bello after a protest march to mark the commencement of the Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation which is billed for 11-15 October 2021.

The week of action was convened by the Our Water Our Right Africa Coalition comprising labour and civil society groups from Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, among others.

The protest march which culminated in the delivery of the petition started at the Marwa Gardens with activists chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards with inscriptions such as “Water is not Deal”, “World Bank Stop Pushing Water Privatisation or PPP on Africa”, “World Bank, Take your hands off our water”, etc.

In a speech at the premises of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, CAPPA Executive Director, Comrade Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “the decision to deliver this petition to the Lagos government is informed by the body language of the Lagos government which seems to favour privatization at a time that there is a growing Afro-wide resistance to privatization.

“The messge for us in Nigeria, in Lagos and other states is for us drop privatization or whatever guise and that the Federal Government and the National assembly should reject the National water bill.” CAPPA Executive Director told The New Diplomat. He also urged members of the National Assembly to disregard any back-door plan to reintroduce the controversial water bill that had been hitherto thrashed by the federal lawmakers.

Lagos State Secretary of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abiodun Bakare told The New Diplomat that water production at the public waterworks owned by the Lagos government has dropped to 10% of their combined installed capacity.

“If I’m to access the level of production at Lagos water works in terms of percentage, it is below 10%. I am saying it categorically, it is not interesting, it is not impressive.” Bakare said.


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