Photo credit: Environmental Rights Action
Nearly 100 women held a major demonstration on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria to demand an end to the government’s devastating pursuit of water privatization. This rally built on momentum already generated by Corporate Accountability International and Environmental Rights Action (ERA)’s year-long organizing to keep Lagos’ water system in public hands. Veronica Nwanya of ERA and the local labor union’s Fehintola Macaulay-Odumosu led the group as they marched to the gates of the Lagos government offices.
Their action forced the Lagos governor to send a senior official to respond to their concerns and publicly state that the Lagos government is investing in the water system and that it will not pursue privatization in the future. That’s a step in the right direction, but we know the government is still pursuing privatization under the guise of public-private partnerships — which will have the same terrible consequences for people, water systems, and democracy. The “Our Water, Our Right” coalition is already building on the rally’s momentum, with ERA issuing a statement for World Water Day that kept the media drumbeat going, maintaining pressure on the Lagos government and the World Bank.