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16th April 2015

The people of Lagos, Nigeria have been waiting for years to receive safe, clean tap water in their homes.

A staggering 90% of Lagos’s residents are forced to choose between buying water from private vendors who charge exorbitant prices and seeking water from contaminated sources. As a result, the local hospitals are full of people suffering from cholera and other water-borne illnesses.

Community activist Akinbode Oluwafemi, who works with Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, has a vision to change all this. He says, “Water is a social service expected to be rendered by government… Water is a right and it must be protected.” Working alongside labour and civil society groups to advocate for a better public water system in Nigeria’s largest city, Akinbode’s campaign is growing in popularity. In order to succeed, he’ll have to convince the new governor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, that investing in the public water system is a choice worth making.

Tell the governor of Lagos to respect’ citizens demands that clean water be provided as a public resource!

The governor of Lagos is facing an important decision - invest in water as a public resource for its 21 million citizens, or hand it over to a private corporation that will provide water to citizens in exchange for profit.

The biggest threat to Akinbode’s plans to make public water available to all Lagoasians is the influence of international corporations hoping to profit off of Lagos’s water crisis. Corporations have been meeting in secret with Lagos’s governor in an attempt to stake their claim, resulting in citizen protests.

This is not just the story of water in Lagos. It’s part of a larger story where our natural resources are being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Across the planet, corporations are pushing to privatize and control water resources. Wherever these corporations get their way, water is turned into a money-making commodity like oil.

Tell the governor of Lagos that water is a human right, not a source for private profits!

Water privatization makes money for big companies at the expense of communities that have shared local water resources for generations. Activists in Lagos have their own vision for the future. By learning from cities that have developed successful public water systems, Lagos can preserve the human right to water become a model for other cities throughout Africa.

We’re joining with our partners in Lagos and Corporate Accountability International in calling for the governor of Lagos to reject water privatization and provide clean and safe public water to all its citizens. In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something used to fuel short-term profits.

Tell the governor of Lagos to become a leader in promoting the human right to water!

Thank you for standing up for justice!

Emma Cape
Campaigns Manager for The Story of Stuff Project

National Mirror: 'Our Water is Our Right', March 14, 2015

The Guardian: Water privatization: a worldwide failure?, January 30, 2015