- CAPPA To Sanwo-Olu: Probe Past Spendings In State’s Water Sector Since 1999
The decades-old water crisis in Lagos has worsened in recent times, leaving millions of residents without safe and portable water to battle the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, a report by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has revealed.
The report which was presented to the media in Lagos, Monday, exposed the parlous state of water infrastructures across Lagos as it revealed that some mini waterworks in the densely populated metropolis and suburbs of Africa’s largest city have gone comatose.
Titled: ‘One Year After Damning Report, Water Shortage Persists In Lagos,’ the report was unveiled as part of activities marking the World Water Day 2021.
Bemoaning the worsening water crisis in Lagos, Comrade Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, CAPPA said almost a year after the organisation released a report on ‘How Acute Water Shortage May Jeopardize Covid-19 Response in Lagos,’ there has been no respite yet for residents groaning under the burden of water poverty amid the ongoing global pandemic.
According to the report, between February and early March, not a single drop of water was produced at waterworks located in Mende, Onikan (Obalende), Isheri-Osun, Shasha (Alimosho) Amuwo-Odofin and Igando areas of the state, while production at several other facilities was below the installed capacity at the waterworks.
CAPPA’s Ms. Aderonke Ige observed that facilities in many of the waterworks have broken down. In some, she stated that there was no semblance of daily operation when the CAPPA’s team visited as premises have been taken over by overgrown weeds and creepling organisms.
Unveiling the report, Oluwafemi said between January 25, 2021 and March, 5, 2021 the team visited and gathered information on the waterworks. “Excepting the Alexander waterworks in Ikoyi which serves the elite and functioned optimally, every other visited water infrastructure across the state is begging for attention. The dire water situation is already causing apprehension among Lagos residents who fear that beyond Covid-19, while sourcing for water from unwholesome sources they may be exposed to others diseases.”
While calling on the Lagos state government to make public, details of a recent Memorandum of Understanding it signed with WaterAid, Oluwafemi cautioned against plan by the Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu-led administration to privatise any segments of the water sector in the state through the back door after several unsuccessful attempts in the past.
According to CAPPA Executive Director, part of the recommendations put forward to the Lagos Government in a letter addressed to Governor Sanwo-Olu include: an urgent declaration of a state of emergency in the Lagos water sector; a rejection of all forms of water privatisation and commodification; Convening of an emergency session on the water crisis in the state by the Lagos House of Assembly.
CAPPA also asked Sanwo-Olu to probe into funds released since 1999 for the rehabilitation of the existing waterworks in Lagos, including the N1.6 billion released under the Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode administration and the sundry allegations of mismanagement by Lagos Water Corporation that trailed the release as revealed by The New Diplomat’s exclusive investigation.
Comrade Sylvester Ejiofoh lamented the ongoing attempt to commodify water in Lagos as he insisted that water is a social right of all citizens. He urged the state government to quickly revitalise the three major waterworks in Adiyan, Iju and Isashi currently in a state of disrepair to save citizens from drinking contaminated water from boreholes which often have traces of sewage percolation in some parts of the state.
“We’ve had a constant decline in the state of water infrastructure in the state. We must continue to awake the political consciousness of leaders on the issue of water until we achieve victory,” Deputy Director, Joint Action Front, Comrade Achike Chude said, while also restating his opposition to the National Water Bill that was shut down at the National Assembly due to some of its provisions perceived by Nigerians as anti-people and pro-privatization.