World Water Day: When groups, octogenarians converged against govt water privatization in Lagos

By Valentine Amanze

Monday, March 25, 2019, witnessed the exodus of people from the Lagos hinterland to the seat of the state government, Ikeja, to mark the World Water Day, which was celebrated globally on Friday, March 22, 2019.
They had one thing in common aside their white t-shirts; they wore gloomy faces as they chanted solidarity songs along Acme road, Ikeja, condemning the state government’s plot to privatise water.
It was a scene to witness as both octogenarians and septuagenarians joined the youth to lament the water crisis in Lagos, a state surrounded by water.
Of course, they were responding to the call by a Lagos-based group, Our Water Our Right group, for Lagosians to resist any plan by the state government to privatise water in the state.
While addressing the gathering, Our Water Our Right group, vowed to widen its solidarity base to ensure it resisted any attempt by Lagos State government as well as anywhere in the country to privatizing water.
Also, the group, comprising over 40 organisations, drawn from the Labour, civil society, religious and pressure groups among others cautioned Lagos State governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, from playing the script of the out-going governor, Akinwumi Ambode, or be prepared for a show-down.

The coalition said that it was resolute in its commitment to ensure that it would leave no one behind in the struggle, contending that evidence has shown that Public Private Partnership (PPP), which the World Bank was marketing to Lagos State, was already a colossal failure in countries where it had been experimented.

The position of the group was made known, Monday, March 25, 2019, in Lagos during the commemoration of World Water Day 2019 with the theme: Leaving no one behind.
Across the world, March 22 is always celebrated as World Water Day.
Although Our Water Our Right group observed last Friday March 22 as World Water Day and issued press statements demanding that government must provide good public water for the people, the group said that its Monday activity was to commemorate the day by organizing town hall discussion to increase the awareness among the people about the need and conservation of water.
At its panel session, activists including Olufemi Akinbode (ERA/FoEN), Ayodele Akele (CDHR), Achike Chuddy (Action Aids), Vicky Urenma (Women Arise), and Biodun (AUPCTRE) among others condemned any move by any state government to privatize water, urging Nigerians to rise up and fight for their inalienable right to good portable water.
Also, representatives of some Lagos communities from Epe, Ikorodu, Somolu, Agege, Agboyi and Badagry among others disclosed unpleasant state of water crisis they were undergoing in their area.
The occasion was used to lunch Friends of the Earth International video on Lagos campaign against water privatization.
It would be recalled that World Water Day is an annual event set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to highlight the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

News Category: