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Lagos Govt Not Truthful About PPP Plans In Water Sector – Coalition

The Our Water Our Right Coalition has described as extremely disturbing, Lagos State government decision to press ahead with Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the water sector even with overwhelming public rejection of the idea and repeated denials on its part.

Responding to the stout defence of PPP by the Managing Director of Lagos Water Corporation (LWC), Engr. Mumuni Badmus during a live radio interview recently, the Our Water Our Right coalition said Lagos citizens are disappointed and find it shocking that after forcing the state government to rescind anti-people sections in the new Lagos environment law, officials were secretly trying to foist the PPP agenda on citizens.

The Coalition comprises a host of environmental justice groups such as the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Corporate Accountability International, Child Health Organisation, Center for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, ClimateAid Initiative, Center for Dignity, and Peace and Development Project (PEDEP), Africa Women Water Sanitation and Hygiene Network (AWASHNET), among others.

Engr. Badmus had during thelive interview on NigeriaInfo 99.3 FM said that the provision of 18,000 water meters for water users in Lekki and sights set already on Oworonshoki was part of a PPP arrangement between the Lagos State government and the World Bank.

But in a statement issued in Lagos the Coalition said: “Not only is the revelation by the LWC disturbing, it means the Lagos government with the backing of the World Bank had all the time been fooling Lagos citizens and the entire world by denying there were deals to put the water infrastructure of the state in the hands of for-profit organisations, some with financial links to the World Bank”

Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “We rejected PPP in the water sector in our petitions and public protests that culminated in rallies against sections of the Lagos Environment Law. Again, we reject this and any PPP in the state”

“We are convinced that the state government is now using a system of gradualism to introduce PPP in the water sector. The introduction of water meters in the Lekki axis is just a first step. Now that the LWC has openly declared that the views of millions of people who freely rejected the PPP agenda do not count, we are more than determined to defend our right and make the Lagos government listen.”

Vicky Urenma, executive director of Child Health Organisation said the Lagos state government push for privatizing was already driving women saddled with getting water to the edge as it had failed to integrate broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water.

She explained that the solution to the current water crisis rests within the parameters of upholding the human right to water as an obligation of the government, representing the people.

Among a host of demands, the coalition also demanded the Lagos government:

· Reject contracts designed by or involving the IFC, which profits from investments in private corporations

· Prioritize water for the people by investing in the water infrastructure
necessary to provide universal water access, which will create jobs, improve public health, and
invigorate the Lagos economy.
· Increase budgetary allocation to the water sector
· Institute a Water Trust Fund that will expand public financing of the water sector



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