By Agbonkhese Oboh
The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Service Employees, AUPCTRE, has said “the sorry state of Lagos water sector is a deliberate strategy by the management of Lagos Water Corporation, LWC, to cajole Lagosians into believing that the only sustainable way of supplying water to Lagos residents is to adopt Public Private Partnership, PPP.”
This came Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, said it was disheartening that the water sector was allowed to slide, when the state’s internally-generated revenue was close to N60 billion monthly, insisting that it was time for Lagos residents to ask questions.
AUPCTRE’s State Secretary, Mr. Abiodun Bakare, told newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, that access to water was a human right and water must not be commodified, noting that shortages and disruptions in many areas in Lagos, especially Bariga, Lawanson, Ojodu, Ketu, Agege, Abule Egba, Agboyi and Mile 12, among others, were deliberate.
Reeling out the woes in the sector, Bakare said: “When countries are embracing remunicipalisation, Lagos State is spearheading privatisation. The sudden invasion of the Lagos water sector by World Bank and its private arm, International Finance Corporation, ICF, is worrisome.
“Adiyan in-take/headworks, designed to produce 70 million gallons of water daily has not worked for over three months now.”
“In spite the much-celebrated N800 million released for the rehabilitation of 48 mini and micro water works, the said water works are in even worse state, while Iju water works has been closed since January 11.”
The union called for an end to moves to privatise the sector, probe of monies allocated to the sector, stop to intimidation and victimisation of workers and asked the incoming government to review dealings with IFC and other bodies concerned with the PPP plans.
Similarly, Isimeme Eboh, AUPCTRE’s Organising Secretary, claimed that LWC continued to de-motivate workers through retrenchments of technical staff and no recruitment to fill vacant offices, which she said was deliberate to frustrate staff and pave the way for privatisation.
On his part, Ayodele Akele, Executive Director, Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre, noted that Lagos government and the management of LWC were nurturing a major crisis if they allowed LWC to collapse to pave way for privatisation.
His words: “The general public will resist it because we know the neglect of the corporation workers is deliberate. We anticipate the governorship candidates will react to this expose of the sleaze in the corporation.”