The controversial bill dates back to 2017, when then Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari presented it to both chambers of the National Assembly, seeking to transfer the control of water resources from the states to the federal government. It was again brought before the National Assembly in 2020.
“If passed, the centralization of water governance and control could have totally taken access to water away from the people, as water would have completely become a commercial commodity, a multi-national business venture, and a privatized resource,” explained Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi, coordinator of the Nigerian chapter of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network. “Our advocacy and campaigns, using our religious leaders, women, and young persons, paid off as we registered the seriousness of water as a human right and a free gift from God.
Fadahunsi added that the WCC Ecumenical Water Network in Nigeria will continue its commitment to say “no” to the privatization of water.
“This momentum in Nigeria must be kept, as we need to keep our focus on the goal of public ownership and democratic control of water resources, even as some state governments such as Ekiti and Lagos have shown tendencies of water privatization through their processing partnerships with international organizations such as World Bank and USAID,” he said.