A confluence of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has alerted on an imminent water crisis in Lagos, which it said could result in more people being cut-off from public water supply.
The CSOs, which briefed the media in Lagos on Thursday, said the looming crisis is a consequence of the alleged privatisation of the state’s water system, which it claims could cause a major hike in the cost of water in the state beyond what most people could afford.
Speaking further on the precarious water situation in Lagos, the group represented by Directror, Corporate Campaigns, Envronmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Mr. Oluwafemi Akinbode, said the state is already on the edge in this regards, disclosing that 90 per cent of its households do not have access to water from the public water system.
Akinbode pointed out: “Lagos is the heart of Nigeria, with a population of about 21 million people.
“Since 1979, the Lagos State government has obtained loans from the World Bank, French Government and other donor agencies to fund water supply expansion schemes. These loans have run into billions of naira and saddled the government with debts that will take years to pay back. Nevertheless, those loans have not translated into improved water supply for residents, as only about 10 per cent of them have access to water from public water system,” he said.
He said the people are saddled with too many burdens of privatizations of key sectors like road, power, and others hence, cannot afford more.
The CSOs are more worried that there is not guarantee for the quality of water supplied to the few residents who are connected to public water system, raising fears that a major epidemic of water borne disease may break out soon.
Human Rights advocate and Public Affairs commentator, Francis Abayomi, who made reference to this said, “It is bad that only few households are fed with public water supplies.
It is, however, worse that the quality of the water cannot be guarantee, as some of the pipe are burst and lined near sewage tanks.”
Speaking on the ripple effect the looming water crisis could have on residents, Gender Focal Person at ERA/FoEN, Mrs Betty Abah said, “It is important to note that any water crisis in Lagos or any part of the country for that matter will put the women, who are already under severe pressure, on the edge, and once that happens, the society suffers.”
She said the women are always at the receiving end during any water crisis, saying, “There is need for consultations with them before any policy on water is established.”
The Nigerian CSOs, had on Wednesday articulated a petition signed by 14, 433 other individuals and international organizations to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, stating their affirmation to the fundamental right to clean water and independent governance.
In the letter dated December 10, and addressed by ERA/FoEN, the group said, “We are deeply troubled that the World Bank and the Private water industry are using formidable financial might and influence to push a water privatisation plan in Africa’s biggest city, and throughout the Global South.”
In a further elucidation of their position, the body urged Fashola and other decision makers to stop any form of water privatization, including any under the Public Private Partnership model, suggesting instead that a real solutions that truly address people’s access to water at affordable rates.
Source: Daily Independent