CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Reject World Bank projects on water, coalition tells African govts

African governments have been, again, urged to reject any proposal or project backed by the World Bank, its sister-organisation, International Finance Corporation, IFC, and private bodies interested in privatising water resources on the continent.[spacer height=”25px”]

The emphasis was made by the Our Water Our Right Coalition, OWORAC, in Lagos on Tuesday.[spacer height=”25px”]

The occasion was the kick-off of Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation 2022 by OWORAC, hosted by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation, CAPPA.[spacer height=”25px”]

Speaking at the event, Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said any privatisation discourse involving the World Bank, IFC and multinationals exploits the vacuum left by lack of legislations that enforces human right to water.[spacer height=”25px”]

He said multinationals promoting water grabs across the globe have continued to strategise to take over Africa’s water.[spacer height=”25px”]

The Bill in Nigeria
Recall that a water resources bill – National Water Resources Bill 2020 – has been generating controversies in the National Assembly.[spacer height=”25px”]

Rising from the fifth teleconference meeting of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, in July, the 36 states governors rejected the bill “because it would not address inconsistencies with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.[spacer height=”25px”]

Note that the bill seeks to empower the Federal Government to take over water resources from states, licence the supply and commercialise the use of surface and underground waters, which riverine states in the country considered an assault.[spacer height=”25px”]

States that would be affected are Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa,  Plateau and Kebbi.[spacer height=”25px”]

It’s not people-centred, cries coalition
However, Oluwafemi, speaking for OWORAC at the Action Against Water Privatisation kick-off, noted that “In all this, the greatest impacts will be borne by communities that have, for generations, protected what we can rightfully call their birthright.[spacer height=”25px”]

“If these schemes are allowed, the ramifications will be far from pleasant.[spacer height=”25px”]

“The girl-child who wakes very early to fetch water will have to do more legwork. The danger she faces will be escalated.[spacer height=”25px”]

“It’s for these reasons that the theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘African Communities in Solidarity Against Water Privatisation’.[spacer height=”25px”]

“Our actions will centre the connected struggles of African communities and peoples to actualise their right to water and fend off privatisers.”[spacer height=”25px”]

OWORAC demanded African governments fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation, integrate broad public participation in plans to achieve universal access to clean water;[spacer height=”25px”]

Reject World Bank/IFC contracts, build the political will to invest in water, increase budgetary allocation and expand public financing.[spacer height=”25px”]

Week-long action
The week-long event will include social media actions, rural community water parliament in Lagos, Abuja, Ekiti, Enugu, Plateau and other states; engaging public office holders, and making them sign social contract.[spacer height=”25px”]

The activities, OWORAC noted, will be happening simultaneously across Africa; Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Uganda, Cameroon and Ghana.[spacer height=”25px”]

Other members of the coalition are Public Services International; Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUPCTRE; Public Services International, Corporate Accountability, Ecumenical Water Network Africa, The Arabic Village, Just City Project, among others.[spacer height=”25px”]

The high point of the event was ‘Gentle Screams – voices from African communities,’ a section of the event dedicated to videos of stories and the daily experiences of rural dwellers in their daily struggle to access water.[spacer height=”25px”]

Source: Vanguard News

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