Epe Community petitions representative, Lagos govt, seeks rehabilitation of waterworks
By Edu Abade
In the quest for the provision of safe, clean and affordable public potable water in Epe Community and its environs, representatives of the community, at the weekend, petitioned representative of Epe Constituency I in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mustainu Abiodun Tobun and the state government on the need to revive the two comatose waterworks on Epe.
Copies of the petition titled: Epe Community Seeks Rehabilitation Of Waterworks was endorsed by Adesanya Oguntimirin, coordinator of the Epe Community Water parliament, an affiliate of the Our Water, Our Right Coalition was also sent to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and Clerk of the House, Hon. Olalekan Onafeko.
Members of the parliament drawn from grassroots and labour activists, youths, women, faith and community-based organisations in Epe, however, commended Tobun for his achievements in the last few years of representing Epe constituency I in the House of Assembly, but insisted that the solution to the current water crisis in Lagos is not to commodify water but keep it public.
Specifically, they commended him over his stand for pro-people actions as evidenced by his support for the community through his youth empowerment programme, education, women’s capital development, infrastructure, ICT development and sports, among others.
“We are, however, using this medium to express our dissatisfaction about the current state of the Epe mini waterworks which has not produced a single drop of water for years for the people. The non-functioning of the waterworks has made some of us resort to any available source to get water including from unwholesome sources. We largely depend on boreholes or endure a long-distance trek to fetch water at exorbitant prices.
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“Water is life. Beyond using water for drinking, cooking, washing and other domestic use is the fact that it has been declared as a right by the United Nations in 2010 and as such it is the responsibility of the government to provide water for the people.
“It is however worrisome to learn about the plans by the Lagos State Government to concession Lagos water infrastructure to privatisers under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatisation.
“Evidence abounds that cities and countries that have experimented with the PPP have learned bitter lessons with many opting out and putting their water back under public and democratic control. Examples of some cities that have taken back their water from privatisers are Buenos Aires, Berlin, Jakarta and Paris. In Africa, we have examples of Ghana, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania and Cameroun, among others,” the petition reads.
They also solicited Tobun’s support in rejecting the privatisation of Lagos water infrastructure, insisting that the PPP is an anti-people model because it is built only on the premise that water is a commodity for profit, it does not accommodate water as a human right and it is often difficult to exit the contracts. “It is fraught with rate hikes, service cut-offs and unfulfilled infrastructure promises, which combined, prevent cities from making crucial progress toward real solutions to water access challenges. Generations yet unborn cannot be made to carry the weight of the wrong choices of today.
They, therefore, demanded urgent rehabilitation of Epe Mini-Waterworks, connection of all households to access water in Epe Community and urged the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration to fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government representing the people.
The group also demanded that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration should integrate broad public participation including that of women in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water, increase budgetary allocation to the water sector and create a Water Trust Fund that will expand public financing of the state’s water sector.
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