Coalition Challenges Ambode To Disclose Details Of Multiple Water Project Contracts In Lagos

A group, OUR Water Our Right Coalition has challenged the Akinwunmi Ambode-led government in Lagos State to make public details of its multiple public private partnership, PPP, contracts on water projects, which was allegedly shrouded in secrecy and introduced “through the backdoor”.

In a press conference held in Lagos, the coalition argued that “If these projects should move forward it will translate to private control of over 57 percent of the entire Lagos water system capacity.

“We demand full disclosure of the PPP projects in the water sector and a halt to the projects; disclosure of all International Finance Corporation and World Bank activities and discussions with Lagos State government officials regarding water; both formal and informal advisory roles.

“We call for broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water and the need for the state government to hearken to our demands that it upholds the human right to water as an obligation of the government representing the people.”

Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Director, Environmental Rights Action, ERA, an environmental rights group, and part of the Coalition, disclosed that Global Water Intelligence, GWI, magazine, a high value business information for the water industry, revealed that multiple PPP projects are in the works for Lagos water sector.”

Adding that officials of the state government and the website of Lagos Water Corporation has no information on the projects, Oluwafemi said if previous PPP projects such as the waste disposal one failed, it does not make administrative sense to enter into such arrangements on multiple projects at once.

According to him, “some of the identified projects — Adiyan II, Igbonla, Yewa I, Odomola II, Ibeshe I, Ibeshe II and Yewa II— have project lengths of up to 35 years and were only updated on GWI tracker a week after the World Bank executives visited Governor Akinwumi Ambode on May 9 and Engineer Mumuni Badmus, the helmsman of the Lagos Water Corporation is listed as the contact person.”

Also speaking, Mr. Opaleye Taiwo, Lagos State Chairmam of Amalgamated Union of Public, Corporation, Technical, Recreational Employees, AUPCTRE, noted that privatisation has not helped the water situation in the state.

He pointed out that after several failed attempts, with contractors abandoning projects and agreements reached, only five of the 12 pumps at Iju Waterworks function epeileptically. Other members of the coalition are Corporate Accountability; Public Service International, PSI; Africa Women Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network, AWWASHNET, and Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre.