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COVID-19: Lagos Water’s report on water availability contradicts the reality in Lagos communities – CAPPA

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L-R: Comrade Abiodun Bakare, Secretary, NLC Lagos Chapter, Achike Chude of Joint Action Front, Philip Jakpor of ERA, and Comrade Taiwo Opaleye - Branch Chair, AUPCTRE Lagos Council

The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has faulted reports by the Lagos State government that most communities in the state have been enjoying improved water supply since the COVID-19 pandemic began, describing the claim as fictitious.

The Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) had, in a press statement on May 7, 2020 listed Dolphin Estate, Magodo, Ikoyi, Saka Tinubu, Victoria Island, among a host other communities in Lagos that have been enjoying its service delivery since the pandemic began. The LWC Managing Director, Engr. Mumuni Badmus also added that the identified communities commended its services.

CAPPA has however countered the Corporation’s position, calling it fictitious and insisting that its own investigation carried out in Adiyan, Iju, Epe, Isashi, Shasha, Surulere-Itire and other communities where the largest population of Lagosians reside show that the LWC facilities were near grounded and water was not available for residents.

CAPPA Programme Manager, Aderonke Ige said: “We find it quite ludicrous that the LWC is conducting its own poll and appropriating improved services to itself to such an extent that it denies the reality that the larger segment of Lagos population does not have water to wash or even keep proper hygiene. It is very shocking”

Ige explained that CAPPA’s investigation showed that between March 20 and April 18 during the locked down in the state, none of the waterworks were functioning up to installed capacity, adding that the causes of the shutdown ranged from unavailability of diesel in the plants, to power outages, and technical hitches among others.

In the breakdown of the investigations results, Adiyan which has an installed capacity of 70 million gallons per day (MGD) only produced as much as 23.33 MGD (its highest within this period) on April 14 and this volume declined to 14.56 MGD as at April 16.

Iju with an installed capacity of 45 MGD only produced as much as 6.87 MGD on March 20th and this volume declined to 4.3 MGD on April 16.  Isashi with installed capacity of 4MGD only produced as much as 2.2 MGD on April 9. This declined to 0.95MGD as at April 16.  Also, Ikosi waterworks with 4MGD installed capacity did not produce any water throughout the period in review. Other waterworks visited are Epe, Agege, and Surulere-Itire.

Ige noted that the missing link thus far is the failure of state governments to build the required political will to prioritize water for citizens through comprehensive public investment in infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, jobs, improved public health, and invigoration of the Lagos economy.

She insisted that the parlous state of the waterworks reinforces the call by the Our Water Our Right Movement, of which CAPPA is  a member, for a comprehensive investigation of the funds ploughed into the rehabilitation of the 48 waterworks in Lagos – including the N1.6 billion by the last administration in the state.

She said it is time that the Lagos government acknowledges the dire situation in the water sector, pull back from the misdirection that planned privatization of the sector has created, and adoption of real solutions within the realm of the public sector.

“At a time that the state government should prioritize provision of water as a check to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Lagosians need is the self-praise that the LWC is involved in. This diversion is unacceptable,” she said.