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18 million Lagos residents lack access to clean water — Group

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) on Tuesday pleaded for improved water supply in Lagos to meet the water needs of some 18 million residents in the state.

The Deputy Director of ERA/FoEN, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, told newsmen that the residents were lacking access to portable water.
Over 18 million Lagos residents representing about 90 per cent still lack access to clean and safe water, exposing them to water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea. The issue of water is more complex in a major city like Lagos, especially from the domestic angle because lack of water can lead to water borne diseases.
“Recently, about 25 children in a riverine place in Lagos had infections and it was traced to lack of water and sanitation. When hospitals do not have water and you want to do surgery, when women are giving birth and there is no water in the facility, the consequences include infections which could be fatal.
“When you even buy water from cart pushers, there are underlying dangers because you may not know the source of supply and the cleanliness of the cans.

The entire water in Lagos has been polluted. We also have issues of industrial effluence and there is need to tackle all of these urgently.
“The government should take the responsibility of addressing this and not depend on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC),’’ he said.
Oluwafemi said that the Lagos State Government should channel appropriate funding to the LSWC to achieve availability of potable water.
He also advised the State Government to drop its proposed plans to privatise water in Lagos and develop transparent strategies to make clean and safe water accessible to residents.
“Our aversion to a water privatisation scheme is linked to the fact around the world that IFC has been in the centre of controversial water projects.

We urge Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to declare his stance on the controversial PPP plans with the LSWC.
“We also want the State Government to guarantee the protection of the rights of Lagosians to water by ensuring full disclosure of the PPP and concession plans of the Lagos water infrastructure.
“The state government should provide necessary financial and other resources needed to run existing water infrastructure in the state. Also, they should develop a master plan of incremental overhaul of the entire water infrastructure in the state,’’ Oluwafemi said. Also, Mr Phillip Japo of ERA/FoEN said: “Water is central in every endeavour of man. It is critical for development and as such government should always prioritise it.

We are currently doing an impact study to evaluate how lack of water is affecting people and ways to alleviate this. We have started community outreaches in Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu, Agege, Alimosho and Ibafo-Magboro.
We are extending these boundaries and will employ community pressures to ensure that communities have clean and safe water that are not managed under PPPs,  Japo said.

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