CAPPA, AUPCTRE, PSI raise alarm over possible re-presentation of Water Resources Bill

The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Public Services International (PSI) and the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) on Monday organised a one-day national town hall meeting on the Water Resources Bill in Abuja.

The townhall was informed by the need to further heighten engagement by critical stakeholders to again reaffirm opposition to the contentious National Water Resources Bill as reports swell about plans for its re-presentation at the House of Representatives.

In his welcome address, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, noted that from the second to the last quarter of year 2020, there was national outcry about the obnoxious provisions of the Bill and the manner through which its promoters in the Ministry of Water Resources and the National Assembly tried to force it on the nation.

Oluwafemi said that even after the Bill was stepped down, its promoters have continued to push for its representation hence labour and civil society actors will continue mobilising against it till the government listens and institutes a fresh process that will incorporate the inputs and demands of the people.

Participants at the meeting observed that: water has emotional, spiritual, and ancestral appeal to indigenous people, serves as common pool resource and it is pivotal to maintaining cultural identity.

They also noted that in cities across the globe including Africa where the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatisation has been experimented, there have been disastrous consequences on local communities, job losses, among other sad commentaries.

It was therefore agreed that: “the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 July 2010 recognizing the human right to water and sanitation and the importance of clean drinking water and sanitation to the realisation of all human rights makes it mandatory for the Nigerian government to remove every obstacle to citizens’ access.

“The Nigerian government at all levels must wean themselves of the privatisation and Public Private Partnership (PPP) addiction which has failed across the globe and spurred remunicipalizations especially in the last decade.

“The Federal Government discard the obnoxious National Water Bill and kickstart a fresh community-led process and consultation to birth a true and inclusive National Water Bill at the National Assembly.”

It was also agreed that the Federal Government and all state governments embrace tested and proven public sector solutions in addressing Nigeria’s water challenges. Some suggested solutions are the Public-Public-Partnership model and National Water Trust Fund.

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