Women stage protest against Lagos State Government’s plan to privatise water

Posted by News Express | 19 March 2016 | 2,763 times

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The African Women Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (AWWASHN) on Friday told the Lagos State Government to evolve strategies to ensure adequate supply of potable water in the state.

The Chairperson of AWWASHN, Mrs Victoria Nwanya, made the call while speaking to NAN on the sidelines of a Lagos rally against privatisation of water.

She pleaded with Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to rethink the plans by the State Government to privatise water under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

AWWASHN is a group of women advocates, voicing their concerns on issues bothering on water, sanitation and hygiene.

The body held a rally with other civil society organisations at the Alausa Secretariat in Ikeja to call on the State Government not to privatise water.

“We will continue to plead with the LASG to ensure that Lagos citizens have access to potable water.

“We also plead that any plan by the Lagos State Water Corporation with the support of the World Bank and private water corporations on privatisation of water in Lagos should be stopped.

“We urge the government to stop any form of water privatisation in Lagos, including PPPs that are based on models that fail to uphold human right to water.”

“Failures in water PPP models have been recorded in Manila, Philippines and India.”

Nwanya said: “the rave today as espoused by the UN in 2010 is collective investment in water infrastructure and democratic decision-making prioritising the human right to water above profits.

“We are ready to stand in solidarity with you and any leader who shows strong commitment to investing in a public water system that aims for universal access.”

Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, said “the importance of water cannot be over-emphasised and that is why we are calling for access to clean water.

“If there is access to clean water, public health will be better, the environment will be clean and disease burden will be reduced.

“If water is privatised, women, children and the poor will be greatly affected; again, health, education, business and other sectors will be affected.”

According to Oluwafemi, there are reports that the Lagos Government has had an agreement with the World Bank through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for privatisation of water in Lagos.

Oluwafemi described water as a gift of nature and should not be seen as a way to enrich the coffers of the government.

Mr Phillip Japo of the Environmental Rights Action said “the implication of privatising water will be borne by women, girls and children.

“What we want is for the government to tell us if they are going on with this partnership or not.

“If they are not going into it, they should unveil strategies to ensure that every Lagos resident has access to clean, safe and potable drinking water.”

Mr Biodun Bamgboye, a Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff in the Governor’s Office, told the group that the government was sensitive to the plight and demands of the people.

“This is a government of inclusion to make Lagos work for everyone.

“The Water Corporation is undergoing reforms; there is change in the leadership.

“However, as at today, the LASG does not have any intentions of going into any privatisation on water issue.

“If there will be any change of policy that will affect the generality of the people, we will carry people along.” (NAN)

Source: News Express

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