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Civil society groups, labour urge Sanwo-Olu not to privatise Adiyan, Igbonla water works

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Civil society bodies, labour, and grassroots groups have urged the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwolu to halt alleged plans to privatize the Adiyan II and Igbonla Water Works.

The groups comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Servicers Employees (AUPCTRE) also threatened for a showdown if the governor went ahead with the privatization plans.

The groups, who met in Lagos on the aegis of the ‘‘Our Water, Our Right Coalition,’’ said the “reports in Global Water Intelligence (GWI), published on October 17, 2019 was disturbing and smacks of respect for the views of Lagos citizens and trade union groups that have marched since 2014 and expressly rejected privatisation of the water sector.”

Also speaking, Head, Media & Campaigns of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Mr. Philip Jakpor, said, “the updated details in the report showed that Sanwolu administration may not be different from his predecessors who were dead set on foisting the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatisation on Lagos citizens despite popular resistance.

“Civil society, labour, and grassroots groups were worried that the Lagos government had bought into the myth of the PPP water privatisation success story marketed by the World Bank Group.”

Jakpor also cited monumental failures of similar actions in Nagpur, Manila and across Asia and Africa as glaring examples that should serve as red flag to the government.

“The World Bank and its private arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) continue to market the failed PPP in the water sector, engage in behind the curtain talks with the governments including Lagos State but denies it.”

He maintained that the award of the 100 million gallon/day Igbonla project to Brio Resources Technologies and Acuamed should also elicit questions since Acuamed is tied up in an international corruption scandal and was recently under investigation by the Spanish government and the European Union’s European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Japkor disclosed further that, “several executives of the company were said to have been arrested in 2016 in relation to the allegations and in April 2017, the Spanish Parliament called for reform and eventual replacement of Acuamed following the scandal.”

The branch Chairman of AUPCTRE, Lagos Council, Comrade Taiwo Opaleye, spoke on the secrecy around the Lagos government privatisation plans even as he added that the neglect of the existing waterworks in the state was deliberate to pave way for privatisation.

Other activists who reacted against the proposed privatisation are: Secretary, NLC Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Abiodun Bakare; Achike Chude of the Joint Action Front (JAF).


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