As the world marks 2016 World Water Day today Tuesday, 22nd March, 2016, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the federal of Nigeria and state governments to put the interest of the people over profits in the pursuit of policies to provide citizens with potable water.
The International Water Day reminds governments and peoples about the significance of fresh water and sustainability of fresh water resources management.
The 2016 commemoration which has its as theme: “Water and Jobs”, focuses its attention on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives, livelihoods as well as transform societies and economies.
In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN stressed that the global commemoration should be a wakeup call to the Nigerian government that water is a human right and in its provision, the livelihoods of people should not be mortgaged to privatisers.
ERA/FoEN Deputy Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi stated that the global event must remind governments of their responsibility in ensuring citizens have the highest basic standard of life which unhindered access to clean water represents.
According to him, the sad reality in Nigeria is that the federal and state governments overtly or covertly dodge this duty and would rather go cap in hand to the World Bank and other promoters of privatisation whose interests are solely “for-profit only”.
Oluwafemi however called on government at all levels to fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation, and integrate broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water noting that “Prioritising water for the people will lead to a comprehensive plan that invests in the water infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, create jobs, improve public health, and invigorate the national economy.
Citing Lagos as an example of a potentially dangerous experiment in water privatization, Oluwafemi said, “In this state of nearly 21 million people, the World Bank through its private arm – International Finance Corporation (IFC) – is suggesting a Public Private Partnership (PPP) which will mortgage the future of the citizens of the state.