The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has ramped up its fight against water privatization in Lagos State by taking its campaign to the United States Congress.
In a statement Tuesday, the group said it was part of their effort to build international support against the planned initiative by the Lagos State government.
During a week long visit to the U.S, Akinbode Oluwafemi, ERA/FoEN Director of Corporate Accountability, met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and several congressional staff, according to the group, explaining why members of the U.S Congress should add their voices to the local campaign.
Mr. Oluwafemi, alongside activists from Corporate Accountability International, also met with senior officials of the World Bank including its Nigeria Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly.
“We believe the support from members of the US Congress in halting the privatization of water in Lagos will checkmate the enslavement of 21 million people in Africa’s most populous city,” said Mr. Oluwafemi.
“If the privatization of water is not halted, it will be replicated across Africa, thereby denying its people the right to water.”
Last year, ERA/FoEN launched a campaign tagged ‘this is Lagos: Our Water, Our Right’ aimed at halting the Lagos State government’s planned privatization of water infrastructure in the state.
But the state government has continued to insist that it was not privatizing water supply in Lagos but engaging the private sector in a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
ERA/FoEN has worked with labour unions and professional bodies to escalate the campaign against privatization locally. And the group said that Mr. Oluwafemi’s trip to Washington is expected to raise the international profile of the issue and further mount pressure on the Lagos State government.
“ERA/FoEN is also engaging allies across the African continent and across the globe to halt the planned privatization being vigorously pursued by the Lagos State Water Corporation,” Mr. Oluwafemi said.