Activists Urge Lagos Government To Stop PPPs In Water, Sanitation Sectors
Activists Urge Lagos Government To Stop PPPs In Water, Sanitation Sectors –Environmental activists have urged the Lagos State government to stop all Public Private Partnership (PPP) processes initiated by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s government, especially in the water and sanitation sectors.
Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Akinbode Oluwafemi, made the call at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, insisting on a probe (including public hearing) of the Visonscape ‘scandal’ with a view to ascertaining how much it has cost taxpayers.
The group is also seeking a review of sections of the Lagos Environment Law that paved way for Visionscape to emerge as the sole refuse management firm in the state and recovery of all monies that Visionscape have received since it started operations in 2017
Oluwafemi stressed that all those who have compromised their positions and public trust should be made to face justice, arguing that the dismal performance of Visionscape, which resulted in its sack by the Lagos State House of Assembly is a vindication of the group’s stand that the firm was a hasty contraption intended to milk Lagos citizens and show that PPPs work.
“It has not worked and Lagos citizens have another proof that PPP is a false solution. Whichever way, like waste management, like water. We alerted last year that Visionscape was also being positioned along with some other companies with a global track record of infractions to manage Adiyan II and other water schemes in Lagos under the same PPP arrangement.
“The magnitude of such a disaster replicated in the water sector is unimaginable. We will continue agitating till we have clear statements from the Lagos government on its roadmap to ensuring that Lagos citizens enjoy their right to safe and abundant water under a democracy.
“Handing our water infrastructure to private hands will only stifle that space as documented PPP water privatization projects around the world have shown from Cameroon to Ghana, Gabon, Tanzania to Buenos Aires, Manila, Nagpur, and Paris. In fact, countries that experimented the PPP water privatization are taking back their water,” he stated.
He, however, said while ERA/FoEN remains non-partisan, it commands the state House of Assembly for revoking the Visionscape deal, which has only moved Lagos people close to a health epidemic.
Insisting that the Visionscape project is now commonly referred to as “Visonscam,” he cited the agreement between the Lagos State government and the firm, which involved a monthly remittance of N713.7 million as a first line charge from the state’s revenue account, beginning from June 2017 and terminates in June 2027.
He explained that the consequence was that “in one year, the state would spend N8.56 billion as guarantees for the bond and about N85 billion over the 10-year timeline.”
“Since we launched the Our Water, Our Right campaign in 2015, we have been unambiguous in condemning Ambode’s adoption of the PPP model for handling public service challenges.
“We have argued that PPP is “legalized sleaze” and we only need to re-examine the Lekki-Toll gate PPP failure, the failure in the now privatized power sector, just to mention these two.”