The Our Water, Our Right Coalition has commended the 23 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) who wrote a solidarity letter siding with Lagos citizens in their struggle against water privatisation.
Reacting to a solidarity letter from some members of the CBC and CPC which made direct connections between the struggle of the people of Lagos and people in U.S. cities like Flint, Detroit, Michigan, Pittsburg and Pennsylvania, the Our Water, Our Right Coalition said the caucuses have again shown their commitment to pro-people causes through the letter.
A similar letter of support from half of the CBC members in 2015 underscored the harmful effect water privatisation schemes, including public-private partnerships, have on people of colour around the world. The renewed support from the CBC and CPC members comes just one week after a delegation of Nigerian legislators led by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki met with members of the CBC.
The Our Water Our Right Coalition alerted that the new privatisation plans could involve Veolia which has been implicated in the Flint and Pittsburgh water crisis. Other corporations that have been tipped are Metito and Abengoa – all with global track records of human rights abuses.
The CBC and CPC letter of solidarity draws from three U.S. examples, Detroit, Flint and Pittsburgh where the prioritisation of system finances over access has led to major issues such as raised rates, shut off of water access for tens of thousands, dangerous lead crises and even drew the concern of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water. In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN deputy executive director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “Privatisation is not the answer for Lagos just like it is not the answer for Pittsburgh and cities across the U.S. We call on the Lagos government to end its anti-democratic pursuit of privatisation and invest in public solutions.”
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