Water situation in Lagos threatens COVID-19 response, says group
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), yesterday, said the water situation in Lagos State has assumed a dangerous dimension and urged the state government to declare a state of emergency in the sector.
It made the declaration in response to the government’s public service campaign asking residents to wash their hands regularly to contain the spread of COVID-19, without adequate provision of water and soap.
This followed a report released on its three-month investigation of the status of waterworks in Lagos, entitled: ‘How Acute Water Shortage May Jeopardise COVID-19 Response in Lagos,’ which it disclosed was the culmination of fact-finding activities including visits to 13 waterworks spread across 11 council areas of the state, and interviews with residents.
Director of Programmes at CAPPA, Philip Jakpor, who spoke in company of labour leaders and representatives of civil society groups, said during the presentation of the report that all the waterworks visited were supposed to provide Lagos residents about 137.6 million gallons of water daily.
Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “When the Lagos State government commenced its public service announcement on the need for citizens to regularly wash their hands with clean water, it was necessary to complement their efforts by ascertaining the true state of infrastructure that would deliver on that mandate.
“Unfortunately, the findings were very disturbing. Not only did we discover that many of the waterworks were performing abysmally below capacity at the time of the most crucial need for residents, most were practically on lockdown.”
The report states that the waterworks are performing abysmally due to faulty engines, irregular power supply and lack of manpower, among others.
It points out that the waterworks in Shasha, Badagry, Lekki and Ijora, among others, are not functioning at full capacity, as residents do complain about not having water at a time the LWC is busy announcing improved services.
CAPPA recommended that the state government should jettison its planned privatisation of the water sector and declare a state of emergency in the sector and canvassed integration of broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access.
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