Coalitions of human rights organizations have called on the Lagos State government to shelve its planned water privatization in the state
The Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Oluwafemi Akinbode said during a chat with journalists on Tuesday that, “often times we get confused when trans-national companies try to steal our languages, we are very specific about what we campaign for, it is about public water infrastructure and we say No to water privation in Lagos.
“I could remember when I was a child, I always walked down to the tap and turn it, water definitely started gushing out.
“During the era of Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the Governor of Lagos, water used to flow 24 hours. What we are saying is that all houses in Lagos should have access to clean drinking water, that universal access to water and human beings should be able to pay for water regardless of the status.
“But in a situation where water is privatized, it becomes only the rich that could afford it, and that’s the philosophy of the multi-national company that wants to take over our water, and we say No to them.
“Once this global body takes over our water, they are not thinking of how rural areas would get water, what they would think about is who could pay, this is exactly what is happening to our electricity now, they are signing MoU with elite estates who could pay, and that is what we are fighting for, so that water would not turn to such,” he said.
Akinbode added that this is a national campaign, and that they were currently working on a resolution that would go to the National Assembly.
He stated further that this was very clear, and that this was definitely not going to be flash in a pan campaign, saying this is the reason they were going national, and that they would also not relent to consolidate their gains.
According to him, the gain one has in the struggles is when he brings people together, which he said they had been able to do.
He added that the coalition they had been able to build in Lagos is actually one of the their biggest achievements and that they would consolidate on it so that their people could rise up at any time to demand for their right.
Meanwhile, the institute of the Black World 21st Century and African American and U S based racial justice organizations in a communiqué made available to the media practitioners in Lagos on Monday and signed by the President, Dr. Ron Daniels stated that they stood in solidarity with the people of Lagos, and Nigeria, while also calling on the Lagos State government to abandon its purported water privatization in Lagos, Nigeria.
“While our struggles are distinct, they are connected. From the man-made water crisis and suspension of democracy in Flint, Michigan, the disastrous neglect of the antiquated water system in Newark, New Jersey to the profit, greed-driven privatization of water in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, unaffordable rate and water shutoffs in Baltimore, Maryland, Detroit, Michigan, and other cities across the country, to the diseases harming residents in rural areas because of leaking , corroded septic tanks, Black people have borne the brunt of water injustice in the U.S. we must redouble efforts to demand that water is a human right in the U. S. and globally.
“At a recent roundtable discussion on water as a human right with African American leaders in Washington D.C., we learned about the calculated strategy of multinational corporations to profit from the privatization of water systems in Africa. Nigeria has emerged as the epicenter of this of this insidious effort. Because of our racial, cultural and historical relationships with the people Africa, we have a strong commitment to standing in solidarity with Our Water, Our Rights Coalition in Nigeria,” they said.
They stated further that as the largest city in Africa, Lagos State is facing the ongoing threat of water privatization, and that the “Our Water Our Rights Coalition” stands as a symbol of the power coming together and fighting for a water system that serves their communities instead of corporate interests.
“Accordingly, we call on the Lagos State government to abandon its efforts at water privatization and listen to the voices of the people, who are demanding a public water system with the investment needed to work for all Lagosians.
“We have requested that “Our Water Our Rights Coalition” in Nigeria and other community-based grassroots campaigns across the continent should be reckoned with. We will defend the right for people to have clean and safe water as fundamental human right,” they said.