GROUP EXPOSES INHUMAN ACTIVITIES OF CORPORATIONS PICKED BY LAGOS GOVT. TO MANAGE WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

The Our Water Our Right Coalition comprising a host of national and international civil society and grassroots groups has delivered copies of a document – Veolia, Abengoa, Metito Cannot Be Trusted With Lagos Water to the Lagos State government, asking it to halt the planned 25-year concession of Adiyan II project and a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the Odomola project.

Copies of the document were delivered to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Samuel Adejare, and the Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC). It was also sent to the Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly and the Chairman, House Committeee on the Environment, Hon. Saka Fafunmi.

Veolia, Abengoa, Metito Cannot Be Trusted With Lagos Water is a response to request by the Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC), whose helmsman, Engr. Mumuni Badmus had praised the three companies and recommended them to manage Lagos water infrastructure in a recent radio interview.

Badmus had challenged civil society to expose facts that show infractions by the companies if there were any.

In a covering letter addressed to the state government and signed by Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), the groups said they are dismayed that the LWC had decided to embark on a costly experiment with corporations that have promoted skewed water schemes across the globe.

In the document, Veolia is linked to the lead waster crisis in Pittsburgh, United States (US) and bribery allegations in same US, Romania and France. Contracts by a Veolia subsidiary which resulted in a spike in water rates led to protests in Morocco which spanned weeks in November 2015.

The report details that Abengoa’s executives are on trial in Spain for filling their pockets while the company edges towards bankruptcy.

Metito is linked to hundreds of job losses in Rwanda where it prevented workers from unionizing. The company is also blamed for funding projects that harm people and the planet, including the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in the US.

Some of the recommendations put forward to achieving universal access to clean water in Lagos include Public-Public-Partnerships (PuPs) and the institution of a water trust, among others, that can be implemented by the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Water Corporation over the short and long-term to ensure a functional democratically- governed water system in Lagos.

The Our Water Our Right Coalition is spearheaded by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Corporate Accountability International, Amalgamated Uniuon of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Public Services International (PSI), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Peace and Development Project, and Center for Social Change and Citizenship Education (CENSOCHANGE) among others.

r “We have said it time and again that we are eager to see the Ambode administration commit to ensuring the human right to water through a democratic, public system which will not only ensure all Lagosians can access clean, safe water but will also set an example for governments around the world”, the groups said.

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