November 16, 2018

The right to safe water

Akinbode Oluwafeme at a rally for Our Water, Our Right coalition.

One day, several men with AK-47s stormed into our office. It’s a small space in Lagos, Nigeria that houses a few staff of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), the organization I lead. They rifled through our papers and left without hurting anyone.

But the message was clear: If we held the “Our Water, Our Right” rally that we had scheduled for the next day, we might face worse.

The truth is, challenging entrenched corporate interests in my country has always been risky. I’ve stared down the barrel of a gun more times than I care to count. And each time, I continue on — because there is so much work to do to bring about a just world for all people.

So we had no hesitation. We held the rally as planned and thousands of people turned out. And we’ve kept on organizing to secure clean, safe water for everyone in Lagos.

Today I hope you’ll show your support for our campaign and the movement for water justice. When you make your gift, Corporate Accountability will regrant it right away to ERA.

For too many people in Lagos, finding clean, safe water to drink is a daily struggle. That’s why we are organizing for everyone in the city to have water access — no matter where they live, no matter how little they can pay for the service.

We know only a democratically controlled public water system will do that. And in partnership with Corporate Accountability, we’ve developed a step-by-step plan for public water in Lagos.

But water corporations have had designs on Lagos for decades. And they know that privatizing water in Lagos, the largest city in Africa, is the gateway to water privatization across the continent.

So with every media story we get, with every huge rally we organize, with every piece of pro-privatization legislation we defeat, these water corporations and government officials doing their bidding dig in harder. They escalate their intimidation, engage in secret dealings, and do their best to undermine our work.

Corporate Accountability has a goal of raising $79,000 for ERA’s campaign to challenge corporate control of water by December 10. Will you give today to help meet that goal? Your donation will come to ERA right away.

With corporate influence running deep in Lagos, we must escalate this campaign. We have plans to convene a national summit in January. We must strategize our next steps for Lagos and beyond. In fact, your support will help organizers from Flint, Michigan attend and bring their expertise on mobilizing community responses when the human right to water is violated.

Over the last three years, thanks to your support, Corporate Accountability and ERA have made so much progress together to advance water justice in Lagos. But we’ve still got a long way to go. I hope you’ll give as generously as you can today to help us reach the $79,000 goal. Together, we can defeat water privatizers and realize our vision of clean, safe water for all.

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