World Water Day: 113 Million Nigerians lack access to drinkable Water

A Pan-African organization, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has bemoaned the fact that millions of people in Africa and Nigeria in particular lack access to drinkable water.

400 million people in Africa and 110 million in Nigeria are currently deprived of the basic right to safe drinkable water — a development described as unjust by the organization.

This was revealed at Our Water Our Right Coalition’s (OWORAC) press conference to mark World Water Day 2024 by CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi who blamed the situation on commercialisation of water supply by state governments across the Federation.

“In Nigeria alone, a staggering 113 million people suffer from painful hardship and crippling deprivation of water. This saddening neglect is not due to a scarcity of resources but rather a consequence of the profit-driven logic adopted by state authorities in managing water supply and amenities. The relentless pursuit of commodifying public resources, at the expense of community welfare, has led to the deterioration of vital public utilities and social services,” he said.

“Lagosians still lack running water in their homes, with water works remaining padlocked, while citizens are forced to pay exorbitantly to non-state actors for basic water.

“While this plight is widespread across the country, the situation in Lagos State is particularly alarming for us. Despite the state’s reputation as a lodestar and mega-city, over 8 million of its residents—equivalent to roughly 60 percent of its population—grapple with limited access to potable water.”

“This issue is further worsened by the state’s frequent romanticisation of profit-driven partnership models as purported solutions, despite global evidence documenting the failures of privatizing water supply and infrastructure,” Oluwafemi added.

“Notably, last year, the Niger Republic terminated its over two-decade-long partnership with private water firm, Veolia, and its subsidiary, Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger (SEEN), opting instead for remunicipalisation. Needless to say, this decision was influenced by the realisation that, despite the prolonged operations of Veolia in the country, access to drinking water remained critically low, with huge disparities between urban and rural areas.

“The commodification of basic services and privatisation agenda, often advanced by entities like the World Bank, bears significant neo-colonial undertones and the risks of spurring higher water rates, sharp management practices that disregard community needs, reduced investments in public water infrastructure, inequitable water distribution, and labour losses,” he said.

CAPPA, therefore called on the federal and state governments to jettison any ongoing or future thoughts to privatise water services, saying public-private partnerships offered no real solutions to water challenges.

Source: News Veo

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