Water should be controlled by those who rely on it to survive. Not corporations.
But right now in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, where I live, massive corporations like Veolia are trying to control our water systems. There are currently five projects that could privatize water in Lagos, and some of them could be decided as early as this month.
If they succeed, it could have huge consequences, not only for millions of people in Lagos, but also for the rest of Africa and the world. Lagos is the largest city in Africa, and if corporations capture Lagos’ water system, they will have a much easier time privatizing water in other communities.
That is why this fall, we are planning a major national summit where organizers from across Nigeria and around the world will gather to develop strategies to protect and strengthen public water systems.
We know that when our water is controlled by corporations, it has a lot of negative impacts in our communities. Rates will go up, and people may not be able to pay. People may turn to unsafe supplies of water, and that could lead to illness and outbreaks of disease.
For corporations to profit from our water is an injustice against humanity. We are standing up to keep water safe and affordable for everyone.
Organizing to keep our water public is about bringing people together and getting them to speak clearly with one voice. Only by coming together and acting collectively will we ensure that water, our most essential resource, is not a tool for corporations to make a profit.
Vero Ivoke works with Environemtnal Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigera