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Civil society groups decry alleged plan to privatise public utilities

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Akinbode Oluwafemi

• Another urges Kano to domesticate Child Rights Act
• NLC seeks Africa’s support for Palestinian, Israeli relations

Civil society groups have condemned alleged plan by the World Bank to sell fresh privatisation models to the Federal Government and the Lagos State government.

The groups, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Child Health Organsaition (CHO) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), raised the alarm at the weekend in Lagos.

They alleged the visit of 10 executive directors of the World Bank to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja and Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode was to convince them to privatise the country’s public utilities sector, particularly water in Lagos.

The groups said Nigerians should resist any attempt to privatise water and other public utilities in the country.

Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi, noted that the World Bank should stop selling failed models of privatisation to Nigeria and Africa, saying there was an unholy alliance between corruption syndicate on the African continent and the World Bank.

“We do not want privatisation. We say no to privatisation of Nigeria and to water privatisation because all other sectors like health, education and power have been privatised but have not achieved success. In fact, they are colossal failure.”

Lagos State Chairman of AUPCTRE, Mr. Odusanwo Obatomiwa, stated that since 1999, the Lagos State government had spent N50 billion in the water sector without results.

But in a swift response, spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF), Yinka Akintunde, said the World Bank officials visited the country with a defined mission according to the bank’s priorities, adding that they focused on its funded projects across the country.

In another development, a coalition of 25 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Kano State have appealed to the state government to consider domestication and passage of Child Rights Act to guarantee fundamental rights of children in the state.

The Executive Director, YouthhubAfrica, Rotimi Olawale, who spoke at an interactive forum with the CSO at the weekend in Kano, posited that the coalition is concerned with the United Nations’ estimate of 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria and six out of every 10 Nigerian children under the age of 18 years are being faced with physical, sexual and emotional violence daily.

According to him, the disturbing record has further justified the need for the Kano State government to pass the Child Rights Bill into law.

Also, the organised labour has called on all Africans to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people within the context of United Nations’ (UN) two states of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace.

A member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Isa Aremu, who spoke at the third yearly Ramadan Hamdalat Aremu lecture in memory of his late wife organised by Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State Council, at weekend, said the intractable Middle East crisis “was not about religion or race but about land occupation, domination and oppression.


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