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Privatisation of water is anti-people, say civil organisations



The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) being envisaged by Plateau State Government on water sanitisation should be expunged, as it is anti-people and will tie the hands of Plateau citizens to ambiguous agreements.

The partnership will also make government, through taxpayers’ money, pay corporate entities unfailingly, even when there are other pressing issues requiring funding.

These were the positions of the Head of Media and Campaigns of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Comrade Philips Jakpor, when he appeared, yesterday, before the Plateau State House of Assembly Committee on the Water Bill, which was recently sent for approval.

Jakpor said the biggest enemy of water is privatisation, noting that the disturbing reality was what motivated President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector in November 2018.

Explaining that water is a human right, Jakpor said: “The importance of water to human existence cannot be over-flogged, though it is important not only to man, but to plants and animals also…”

In addressing the challenge, he said that Nigeria must join other progressive nations that have toed the path of rights-based solutions, which informed the United Nations’ decision to declare water as a human right in 2010.

He said: “Though the World Bank and corporate interests in the water sector have in the last decade promoted Public Private Partnership (PPP) as the solution to shortfall in financing infrastructure and services in low and medium income countries like Nigeria, the PPP model has, however, proven to be a false solution, as evidenced in many countries that have experimented it.

“Indeed, a report by the Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International Research Unit and the Multinational Observatory implied that 180 cities and communities in 35 countries, including Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Paris, La Paz, Maputo and Kuala Lumpur have all ‘re-municipalised’ their water systems after failed PPP adventures…”

However, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Power and Energy, Mr. Ja’afaru Wuyep, said the Bill was not harmful, and that the issue of privatisation was not contemplated in any of the sections.

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