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FIELD REPORT #383 – Environmental, Social and Health Impacts of Lagos Floods

Introduction: Lagos received another bout of the climate change phenomenon with unusually heavy rains in the month of July 2017. The downpour between 5-8 July resulted in the flooding of many parts of Lagos with Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island and the Ajah axis witnessing the most severe inundation of homes and business properties.

From Ahmadu Bello Way near the former Bar Beach to Lekki Phase 1 and extending to Ajah and adjourning communities, residents were trapped as the raging waters took over entire streets, cut off others, inundated cars and other valuable property, and surged into their homes.

FIELD REPORT #383 - Environmental, Social and Health Impacts of Lagos Floods
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Field Report #380: Okomu Oil Palm PLC, Clears Forest, Farmlands for Industrial Agro Business in Edo State.

Introduction: The field monitoring exercise was aimed at getting first hand information from communities that are directly impacted by the activities of  Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC which cuts across three Local Government regions of Edo State. They include Ovia South West with their operational head office at Udo (See earlier field report on their activities in Ovia South West); Ovia North East Local Government area and Uhunmwode Local Government area. The three region where the company is operational is home to Okomu Forest Reserve, Okomu National Park, Ehor Forest Reserve and Owan Forest Reserve with rich biological diversity of plant and animal species.

Field_Report_on_Okomu_Activities_in _Edo State
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Support measures to hold Big Tobacco liable for tobacco harms – ERA/FoEN urges COP7 delegates

LAGOS, NIGERIA—In early November, up to 179 countries will convene for the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties of the global tobacco treaty to take some of the most powerful steps in tobacco control since the World Health Organization treaty’s adoption. At the conference, countries will advance a provision to hold the tobacco industry civilly and criminally liable for its abuses. In the wake of revelations this year about British American Tobacco (BAT)’s widespread bribery, governments will also advance policies to exclude the industry from public health policymaking at the international and national levels.
Litigation against Big Tobacco has compelled the industry to pay for the healthcare costs it has caused to countries around the world. The successful litigation against the tobacco industry in the U.S., via the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), secured the recovery of $206 billion USD in health care costs and transformed public health by banning advertising to kids and exposing industry lies. A recent 17-year court case in Canada has similarly awarded smokers $15.6 billion CAD, in what is believed to be the largest class-action lawsuit in Canada to date.
“Litigation is one of the most powerful strategies in forcing the tobacco industry to pay for the staggering costs it incurs on society,” said Cloe Franko, senior international organizer with the Challenge Big Tobacco campaign at Corporate Accountability International. “The outcomes of this year’s Conference of the Parties are poised to mark a turning point for public health.”
The tools Parties will promote at this year’s conference will especially help low- and middle-income countries, where the majority of the world’s smokers now live, but whose GDPs are often dwarfed by Big Tobacco’s revenues—making going head-to-head with the industry in the courts a dubious prospect.
“Nigeria and other developing nations targeted by Big Tobacco for marketing of their lethal products now have the opportunity to support the adoption of mechanisms to hold the industry accountable for the harms caused by tobacco,” said Philip Jakpor, NATT Nigeria Spokesperson.
“Standing for the adoption of provisions that advance criminal liability on Big Tobacco is the right step for delegates from the African region owing to widespread bribery allegations levelled against British America Tobacco (BAT), which has in no small measure slowed the implementation of life-saving legislations”
In addition to advancing tools to hold the tobacco industry civilly and criminally liable, Parties will also close loopholes the tobacco industry has exploited to participate in treaty meetings. The policy stems from a broader treaty directive called Article 5.3 that prevents industry interference in the halls of government.
The global tobacco treaty, known formally as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force in 2005. To date, 179 countries and the European Union have become Parties to the treaty. It contains the world’s most effective tobacco control and corporate accountability measures—estimated tosave more than 200 million lives by 2050 if fully implemented.
British American Tobacco is exposed for widespread bribery and attempts to influence public health policy in Africa.
 
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ERA/FoEN Advocates Immediate Social Security for Unemployed Nigerians

The current recession that Nigeria has plunged head-long into as a result of the slump in international oil price, is indicative of faulty policies and mismanagement of the oil wealth with the result being: We have now come to a point where only a well thought-out and drastic policy can stave off an imminent revolution.

This policy can only come in the way of a National Basic Income Scheme (NaBIS) for the poor and vulnerable groups to address the widening gap of inequalities in Nigeria through a national wealth redistribution system that will ensure a monthly stipend to all unemployed Nigerians which the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) is proposing.

ERA/FoEN made the proposal at a National Social Security Expert Group Meeting held in Abuja with funding from Friends of the Earth Norway.

ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Ojo explained that ERA/FoEN in 2013 proposed this scheme on the basis that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world where the gap of inequality is highest with over 68 million out of the nearly 170 million Nigerians unemployed and living on less than two dollars per day. Millions, he noted, go to bed hungry.

To fund the initiative, Ojo first cited official figures from the Bureau of Statistics which recorded that Nigeria earned N48.4 trillion between 2000-2011, and N8.8 trillion in 2011 from oil wealth hence the nation can afford a minimum Basic Income Stipend of about N10,000 exclusively to the poor and unemployed to halt a decline towards a political class economy.

He recommended a progressive tax of 1% on monthly income of N500,000, sensitisation of policy makers on potential sources of funding, such as reduction of the cost of legislation through the adoption of part-time involvement of legislators instead of the current full-time involvement. Others are significant reduction in the earnings of political office holders in terms of Security Vote for the executives, national assembly members and other political office holders at the national and state levels, among others.

Participants in the workshop included: Senator Fatai Buhari representing Oyo North Senatorial District who agreed with the initiative and expressed willingness to support it. Others are Hon. Wale Okediran, a National Assembly consultant, Hon. Uche Unyeagucha, Hon. Bakura Lawan, among others.

Representatives of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the academia were in attendance.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
By UN estimates, Nigeria will be one of the countries responsible for most of the world’s total population increase by 2050. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the 9th most populous country in the world. With an estimated population of 170 million, one in every five Africans is a Nigerian.  The country has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world.

Growing youth demography, in the context of developing nations, represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for locally led economic growth which can secure a prosperous future for some of the world’s poorest people but sadly in Africa, youth unemployment has become a threat to socio-economic peace and stability. Records have it that the unemployment rate in Nigeria for the year 2011 stood at 23.9 percent with youth unemployment rate at over 50 percent. Surely today, the figure has risen far beyond this estimate.

ERA/FoEN advocates for the empowerment of rural community dwellers whose sources of livelihood have been seriously impacted through massive pollution from extractive activities by oil companies in the Niger Delta, and other environmentally-degrading impacts in other regions of the country. ERA/FoEN believes that the present insecurity challenges engendered by unemployment in the country can be curbed when the needs of the voiceless are addressed.

Rationale for National Basic Income

There are ethical, legal, religious, economic and sociocultural justifications for national basic income. This underscores the relevance of the national social security scheme in any state because the underlying philosophy of social security is to ensure a minimum level of material living to the needy or helpless ones of the society from the government.

A cardinal objective and directive principle which underpins the policy of the Nigerian government towards its people encompass “security and welfare of the people”. This lofty idea is entrenched in Chapter II, Article 14, subsection 2b of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and declared as the primary purpose of Government. Thus, National Basic Income, which is a social security strategy, is a statutory responsibility of the federal government.

Social security is a shared care arrangement designed to meet conditions of insecurity due to either deprivations or contingencies. The objective of a social security scheme is to ensure that the vulnerable in the society receive the necessary assistance required to make them comfortable. By empowering the citizens, the authorities are also preparing them to stimulate economic activities through their spending since a high household marginal propensity to consume is critical to the enhancement of the national income via the income multiplier effect. The environment stands to benefit from relieving pressure on nature and environmental resources.

The current spate of youth restiveness and insurgencies can be significantly reduced if the federal government takes a bold step to implement significant social security measures, especially the national basic income scheme. The major policy implications of such a scheme to various stakeholders include, but not limited to increased household spending and the attendant multiplier effect, need for managerial commitment to employee welfare, industrial unions’ commitment to the private sector’s protection of their employees, etc.

Antecedents

Nigeria has not been totally social security blind. Some of the attempts made by the federal government of Nigeria in providing social security in the past include Udoji Public Service Review Commission – 1974; Workmen compensation scheme, 1987 – 2011; Pension scheme; 1954 – 2004; Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004; 2014; Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010; etc. In recent times, some state governments such as former Governor of Ekiti state Governor Fayemi, and his Ondo state counterpart paid N5,000 to aged people that were 60 years and above. How many of such practices can we point to in Nigeria and what lessons can we learn from them? In particular, the Ekiti social security example was supported by a legislative backing to allow for continuity. But is this the case at the moment or the project has been jettisoned? What other examples can we draw from?

Proposed Strategy for Income Redistribution

A publication in The Vanguard Newspaper (Monday, 5th September, 2016 edition) indicates that the total annual salaries of 469 national legislators (senators and House of representative members) is about N4, 834,032,493. This amount can pay about 40,284 unemployed Nigerian citizens the National Basic Income of N10, 000 for one year.

If we consider the earnings of the state legislators and those of the ministers (Junior and senior) as well as the local government chairmen and vice chairmen, the councilors in the approximately seven hundred and seventy local government areas in the country; the special advisers at the national and state levels; as well as the secretary to the state governments and local governments, then the undisclosed security votes at the state and national levels by those in power, then we will begin to realise how much we can salvage for the national basic income.  A purposeful progressive income taxation should also be explored.

Some strategies/ideas to consider

  1. A progressive tax of 1% on monthly income of N500,000. (How is this realistic with the current tax system? How many people could be in this bracket? And what monetary projections can be derived from such calculations?)
  2. Sensitisation of policy makers on potential sources of funding, such as reduction of the cost of legislation through the adoption of part-time involvement of legislators instead of the current full-time involvement
  3. Significant reduction in the earnings of political office holders in terms of Security Vote for the executives, national assembly members and other political office holders at the national and state levels
  1. The adoption of unicameral legislature instead of the current bicameral system;
  1. Establishment of an institutional framework for the scheme to ensure a successful implementation of the national basic income scheme. In this regard, the following should be provided:

        i. A legislative backing from the national assembly to support Executive Order or gazette.

        ii. Biometric Verification, to ensure that only qualified citizens’ benefit from the scheme;

        iii. National identity card, to ensure that every person’s unique identity is secured and procedures should be put in place to make the exercise continuous

        iv. A comprehensive database of all employed people to enable easy verification of their employment status

        v. A comprehensive database of all unemployed people with the individuals’ biometrics and national identity card numbers that can be used to verify their unemployment status              by logging online with the appropriate details at any given time.

     vi. An electronic database of all unemployed and aged people to make it easy for government to determine the proportion of aged people that should be included in the National                basic income scheme

   6. Stipulation of Penalties for Potential Abuses and Multiple Registration to serve as a deterrent to people who may want to indulge in frivolous acts. Such penalties should include          blacklisting, forfeiting of any benefits associated with the database and possible jail terms of at least three years with hard labour.

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Lagos State Water Courts Illegal, Unacceptable – ERA/FoEN

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has described Lagos State government’s establishment of special courts to prosecute individuals it ascribed to as illegal water service providers as a cover for promoting water privatization.

ERA/FoEN position is coming on the heels of media reports which indicated that Dr. Babatunde Adejare, commissioner for environment, announced the introduction of the courts at a two-day retreat organised for officials of the water sector, which had as theme: ‘Towards achieving a safe and sustainable water sector in Lagos State’.

Adejare who was represented by Babatunde Hunpe, special adviser to the governor on the environment dismissed reports that the state planned to privatize water but surprisingly added that a ‘public-private partnership’ is necessary. He also said the state government is not pleased with giving bail-outs to the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) because of no- payment of water bills by water consumers.

But in a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN said the establishment of the water courts is an “unacceptable” violation of the rights of Lagos citizens to water and has no legal backing anywhere in Nigeria.

ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “We find this development totally absurd. Criminalizing the right of people to source for water when government has consistently failed to live up to its responsibility is simply scape-goating and passing the buck. There is no edict existing or in the works that allows any state government to set up a court for punishing anyone who has decided to provide water to his neighbor free”

“In the layman’s understanding, what this means is that anybody in our communities that carries a jerry-can of water from one house to the other is going to be accused of violating the law and sent to jail. This is absolutely disturbing”

Oluwafemi frowned at references to already budgeted and appropriated funds to the LSWC as bail out, insisting that Adejare’s description of appropriated funds as rescue connotes that the state government has converted the Corporation into a private enterprise whose statutory due in the state budget is now called bail-out.

The ERA/FoEN boss pointed out that it is offensive that the Lagos State government is using its resources to establish a “special court,” round up people attempting to provide people with an essential human need, and prosecute them, even as he added that Lagosians are not the problem that need to be solved.

“The proper move for the state government would be to require invest financial resources in strengthening the public water system so more people have access to water. After all, of what use is government if it is not protecting basic human rights, like water? What Adejare calls an undesirable “bail-out” is in fact the proper role and responsibility of government.”

He stressed that the Our Water, Our Right Campaigners who have staged various protests across the state to reject water privatization reject the water courts and still remain resolute in rejecting all forms of water privatization, semi-water privatization or so called Public Private Partnerships.

“What Lagos residents have consistently asked for and will not negotiate is informed and active participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water. The solution remains within the realm of public control. We are unequivocal that the so-called water courts are a gross violation of our right to life”, he insisted.

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President Buhari Reaffirms His Commitment To Ogoni Clean Up

era-url-iconNigerian Current

President Muhammed Buhari has reaffirmed his administration commitment to the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers State.

President Buhari speaking at the inauguration of the governing council and board on Thursday for the clean-up at the Presidential Villa, Abuja asked for the communities cooperation as they kick off the recommendation of UNEP.
However, a coalition of civil society organization led by , Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria(ERA/FoEN) has called on President Muhammed Buhari to put in place a gazette or law to ensure the process is institutionalized and sustained beyond his administration.

The group in a meeting with the theme Monitoring Agenda for the Implementation of the UNEP report cleanup of Ogoniland in Portharcourt, Rivers State yesterday also said that the present administration should wean itself of fossil fuels dependency and halt all forms of pollution by the oil industry in the Niger Delta by enforcing the deadline for the cessation of gas flaring and exploring safe renewables.ogoni

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Shell should not oversee Ogoni clean up —Civil rights group

era-url-iconVanguard

PORT HARCOURT—  Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government not to include Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in any body constituted to oversee the clean up exercise in Ogoni, Rivers State. Executive Director of the organisation, Dr Godwin Ojo,  in his opening remark at a colloquium,  yesterday, in Port Harcourt, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the release of the recommendations of United Nations Environment Programme,  UNEP, on Ogoni-land, said that the alleged insistence by the oil company to sit on the Governing Council and Steering Board was worrisome. He said that since  the oil company was largely responsible for pollution of the area, it would be unfair for the same firm to be part of the team overseeing the clean up exercise. Ojo also expressed fear on the seeming undue political influence Shell has  on issues in the Niger Delta, stressing that this could derail the clean up process.
shell-main

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Buhari says Ogoni cleanup will take two decades as ERA/FoEN demands a state of emergency for the entire Niger Delta

era-url-iconDelta Newsroom

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that on -going cleanup of Ogoniland and other oil-impacted communities in Niger Delta region would last two decades.

Buhari, made the disclosure, while inaugurating Governing Council and Board of Trustees of Trust Fund for Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project for Implementation of UNEP Report on Thursday at Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said “The clean-up exercise is expected to go on for two decades. The first five years will address emergency response measures and remediation while the subsequent years will look to restore the ecosystems in the Delta.

Niger-Delta-Oil-Spill-2-1024x512

“The governance framework we lay today, following extensive consultations, will form the bedrock for sustainability for years to come.

“Together we will be able to transform what is today a tragic tale of desolation and destruction to one of restoration and opportunity for the coming generations. The expertise and technology exist to make this a reality.

“In the end, this project will serve as the ‘gold standard’ for the cleanup of similar pollution in other parts of the Niger Delta, and the world at large.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Action /Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in a organised a one-day advocacy meeting to mark the fifth-year anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Assessment Report on Ogoniland today, August 4, 2016 recommended among others

Oil pollution

  1. A state of emergency should be declared in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta in view of the mammoth environmental challenges inflicted on the region
  2. The clean up of Ogoniland should commence immediately without further delay. There is need for legal framework and supportive Act for the implementation of the UNEP report. The exercise should include health audit of the people in view of declining life expectancy among the people of the region
  3. We strongly recommend the release of the gazette of the UNEP report implementation to ensure sustainability beyond the present administration since the cleanup will take 30 years to complete from the take-off date of commencement
  4. Shell must be removed from the Governing Council of the UNEP clean up exercise to ensure no conflict of interest in the work of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees
  5. Need for unity among the Ogoni people to ensure the process of cleanup of Ogoniland is not stalled
  6. The cleanup of Ogoniland should be the entry point of the cleanup of the entire  Niger Delta.
  7. Adequate awareness creation on the cleanup process to address the concerns of the Ogoni and the generality of Nigerians interested in ensuring the current processes work.
  8. Adequate civil society representation in the Governing Council and BOT of the implementing committee
  9. An independent monitoring system be set up with representatives of the Ogoni and civil society playing prominent and active roles
  10. Nigerian government should wean itself of fossil fuels dependency and halt all forms of pollution by the oil industry in the Niger Delta by enforcing the deadline for the cessation of gas flaring and exploring safe renewables.

 

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Ogoniland clean-up: Activists ask government to declare state of emergency

era-url-iconEnviroNews Nigeria

Despite the announcement of the supposed take-off of the Ogoniland clean-up exercise and a $10 million take-off grant in 2015, the institutional framework is still not in place to give hope to the Ogoni people that anything tangibe will come out of the process.

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Iniruo Willis (standing), Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo (sitting by Willis' right), and some other participants at the event

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Iniruo Willis (standing), Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo (sitting by Willis’ right), and some other participants at the event

This was the submission of Dr Godwin Ojo, executive director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) on Thursday (04 August, 2016) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in an address at an Advocacy Meeting on Monitoring Agenda for the Implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Clean-up of Ogoniland.

Themed: “Monitoring Agenda for the Implementation of the UNEP report cleanup of Ogoniland”, the daylong forum discussed new developments on the implementation of the report, including the announcement and inauguration of a 13-member Governing Council and Board of Trustees to oversee the take-off of the actual clean-up exercise by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The participants declared that a state of emergency should be declared in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta in view of the mammoth environmental challenges inflicted on the region.

Additionally, they want the clean-up of Ogoniland to commence immediately without further delay, even as they underlined the need for a legal framework and supportive Act for the implementation of the UNEP report. The exercise, they noted, should include health audit of the people in view of declining life expectancy among the people of the region.

Ojo lamented that, five years after the release of the UNEP Assessment report, Ogoniland still remains an emblem of pollution and ecocide in the Niger Delta region.

Indeed, the gathering, which comprised representatives of Niger Delta communities, civil soceity, lawyers, community campaigners, academia and the media, observed that though government has shown a positive attitude towards implementing the UNEP report by inaugurating a Governing Council and Board of Trustees, the absence of a gazette or law to ensure the process is institutionalised and sustained beyond the Buhari administration is not in place.

According to them, there is still legitimate outrage among Ogoni on the inclusion of the same polluting oil companies in the Governing Council and Board of Trustees of the UNEP report implementation. They describe Shell sitting on the Governing Council and steering Board set up by the government to oversee the clean-up as an anomaly.

Shell, the participants allege, is orchestrating a strategy of hijacking the clean-up process in its attempts to evade justice and undermining the clean-up process.

“Since the publicised approval of the $10 million take-off grant which is a paltry sum for start-up compared to the UNEP recommended $1 billion for clean-up of Ogoniland made by President Buhari in August 2015, there has been no information in the public on how the fund will be expended, or how oil companies are to fund the clean-up exercise,” the forum declared, stressing that there is still no work plan or timelines for deliverables in the UNEP report implementation process.

They observed that civil society representation in the composition of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees in the UNEP report implementation is virtually nil and would make monitoring of implementation near absent.

Despite the current administration mantra of diversification from a monoculture economy solely reliant on fossil fuels, it still relies heavily on fossil fuel to the detriment of proven alternatives that are clean and sustainable.

The gathering further recommended thus:

  • Release of the gazette of the UNEP report implementation to ensure sustainability beyond the present administration since the clean-up will take 30 years to complete from the take-off date of commencement
  • Shell’s removal from the Governing Council of the UNEP clean-up exercise to ensure no conflict of interest in the work of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees
  • Need for unity among the Ogoni people to ensure the process of clean-up of Ogoniland is not stalled
  • The clean-up of Ogoniland should be the entry point of the clean-up of the entire Niger Delta region.
  • Adequate awareness creation on the clean-up process to address the concerns of the Ogoni and the generality of Nigerians interested in ensuring the current processes work
  • Adequate civil society representation in the Governing Council and BOT of the implementing committee
  • An independent monitoring system be set up with representatives of the Ogoni and civil society playing prominent and active roles
  • Nigerian government should wean itself of fossil fuels dependency and halt all forms of pollution by the oil industry in the Niger Delta by enforcing the deadline for the cessation of gas flaring and exploring safe renewables.
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Groups Petition Lagos House of Assembly, Demand Halt to Planned Water Privatisation

Civil society, community-based groups and unionists in Lagos have petitioned the Lagos House of Assembly, asking it to step on the brakes on plans by the Lagos State government to embark on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatisation in the state.

The groups – Environmental Rights Action, Public Services International (PSI), Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and representatives of Epe, Ikorodu, Ketu, Agege and Shomolu communities staged a protest march from Ikeja under bridge to the House of Assembly, Alausa today (July 27) to deliver a petition to the Speaker.

In the petition titled PRIVATISATION IS NOT SOLUTION TO LAGOS WATER PROBLEM and presented to Hon. Obasa Mudashiru, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, the groups said they were deeply worried that the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), with the support of the World Bank and private water corporations, had been pushing very hard for a PPP model of water privatization that has failed in other parts of the world. The groups noted that despite the World Bank announced pull back from the project in December 2015 the Lagos government was still bent on pressing ahead with it.

They revealed that failures in water PPP models have been recorded across the globe where, as part owner of water corporations that win PPP contracts, the World Bank has positioned itself to profit from this model. They added also, that ”this conflict of interest drives the Bank’s misleading marketing, especially its promotion of key “success stories “like Manila, Nagpur, Paris, and Dar Es Salaam that have attempted to solve water crisis with PPPs that failed and have instead rolled back water privatisation and advanced down the road of remunicipalisation.

ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “We urge the Speaker and the entire members of the House to side with the people rather than promoters of privatization who put profits before the right to water which is upheld as a human right by the United Nations”

Comrade Sani Baba, Sub-regional secretary of PSI said: “PPP promoters in the water sector advance arguments that are tailored to dousing apprehension of workers towards the initiative but time and again, and global experience shows that workers get laid off and rate hikes follow. The Lagos House of Assembly should reject this initiative because that is the path this PPP arrangement will follow”

In the same vein, Comrade Abiodun Bakare, the state secretary, AUPCTRE said that the Lagos state government must of utmost priority ensure adequate funding for the water sector. This administration must also investigate funding that was expended on expansion of water infrastructure by the immediate past Group Managing Director of LSWC”

The groups asked the Speaker to take the lead in putting the people first. Among the key demands, the groups urged decision-makers to stop any form of water privatization in Lagos, including PPPs that are based on a model that has failed to uphold the human right to water and has locked governments in long-term contracts and enslavement of their people. This is further proven in facts that such deals have proven exceedingly difficult for cities to exit, despite rate hikes, service cutoffs, and unfulfilled infrastructure promises. They prevent cities from making crucial progress toward real solutions to water access challenges.

In the petition, the groups urged the Speaker to use his good office to lead Lagosians in developing real solutions that truly address people’s access to water from the prism of human rights. The Speaker was urged to ensure that the Lagos State Government:

  1. Reject all forms of water privatization and commodification.
  2. Revise all water sector laws that promotes PPP
  3. Make adequate budgetary allocations to the water sector
  4. Fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government, representing the people.
  5. Integrate broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water.
  6. Reject contracts designed by, involving, or influenced by the IFC, which operates to maximize private profit.
  7. Disclose all IFC and World Bank activity and discussions with Lagos government officials regarding water, including formal and informal advisory roles.
  8. Build the political will to prioritize water for the people, therefore leading to a comprehensive plan that invests in the water infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, which will create jobs, improve public health, and invigorate the Lagos economy.
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