Following its recent visit to Gbagada and Oworo communities in Kosofe local government area of Lagos State, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has reported serious case of residents’ inability to access clean water as well as the general neglect of their environment by successive administrations in the state.
The CAPPA team which was in the area to obtain first-hand information on how residents are coping with the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic which adequate washing of hands with clean water and soap can curb, tasked the Lagos State government to provide water for these communities.
Gbagada and Oworo communities have a population of about 1.5 million people, and share a boundary with Bariga local council development authority.
The engagement had representatives of the communities, women leaders and youths in attendance. Aside the CAPPA team, representatives of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) were also in attendance.
CAPPA Programmes director, Philip Jakpor, in his opening remarks gave a brief background of CAPPA and the ‘Our Water Our Right Campaign’, which started in 2014 to promote the human right to water and that no one is denied access to water, even if they cannot pay.
Jakpor explained that the COVID-19 pandemic made the visit more expedient as CAPPA was interested in finding out what the state government had put in place in communities as follow-up to its sustained public health message on the need for residents to wash their hands regularly.
He revealed that current lack of water would aggravate under a privatization regime and force those who cannot pay to explore unwholesome sources that may inadvertently expose them to illnesses including the coronavirus.
In her submission, CAPPA Associate Director, Aderonke Ige, said water is a fundamental right and the United Nations (UN) has declared it so in 2010 and as such it is the responsibility of the government to provide clean and safe water for the people.
Olatunji Buhari, also an associate director of CAPPA said the issue of privatization in the water sector will add more burdens to the suffering of the people and should not be experimented by the current administration.
He revealed that the state government recently set up a committee to evaluate operations of waterworks but expressed reservations about the likely outcome of their work.
In her intervention, Project Officer, Veronica Nwanya, appreciated the outspoken nature of the community people and urged the women in attendance to reach out to more women because they are likely to be more impacted if water is privatized.
Community leader, Comrade Olanrewaju Segun explained the need for the CAPPA team to visit the community to see first-hand, the neglect they suffer and how pipes installed by the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) traverse gutters and only brings dirty water whenever water runs.