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AUPCTRE, NANNM, SSASGOC Protest Against ‘Illegal’ Sack Of LWC Workers, Privatization Plans

... Seek Recall Of Employees, Probe Of N20b Allocations To Sector, Contractors, Others


By Edu Abade

Members of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), yesterday, protested to the State House of Assembly Complex in Alausa against the sacking of about 405 employees of the Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC) on April 15, 2024 and another batch of 391 permanent staff in the first week of May 2024.

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AUPCTRE PROTEST PICTURE 1 Their counterparts from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASGOC) and representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), joined the rally in solidarity with the sacked employees.

The peaceful protest, which commenced from Ikeja Under Bridge to Alausa, was under the close surveillance of security agencies including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and witnessed no violent incident.

 The protesting disengaged employees of the Corporation carried placards with various inscriptions such as: LWC Needs More Staff, Not Sack; EFCC Should Probe Projects of LWC Since 1999; Probe Water Corporation’s Contractors; LASG Deliberately Killing Water Corporation for Privatization and Like Water, Our Work is Our RightGovernor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Respect the Laws; The Whole Process of Staff Disengagement is Illegal; LWC Workers are Productive and Professionals in Their Jobs and Lagos State Government Aiming for Privatization of LWC, among others.


 In their petition to the House of Assembly, AUPCTRE, led by National General Secretary, Comrade Sikiru Waheed and Secretary of the Lagos Chapter, Abiodun Bakare, among other executive members of the union, listed various amounts of money that had been allocated to the Lagos State Water Corporation, which have not yielded the desired results.

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 Specifically, they disclosed that in 2007 the state government voted N4 billion for construction of Otta-Ikosi waterworks, while

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 N3billion was spent on the construction of an Independent Power Plant (IPP) and an additional N180 million monthly on fueling the IPP, which worked for only three years.

  In 2018 about N897million was released for rehabilitation of Iju and Adiyan Waterworks, which largely failed, while another N789million was released for rehabilitation of mini and micro waterworks across Lagos.

 “Between 2022 and now a whooping N2.7billion was voted by the Lagos State Government for the rehabilitation of Isashi waterworks supervised by the governor without result and another N950 million was spent on chemicals in 2023, yet there was nothing to show in terms of water production that year.

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 “Another N315million was paid as 50 percent advance payment to contractor for the supply of liquid alum in October 2023 which is yet to be supplied as of today. The budget for chemicals in 2024 amounted to N1.2billion and we can confidently inform you that production of water since the beginning of the year has been nil.

 “The Lagos State Government released N9.5million for repair of chemical store gate at Iju and Adiyan. Similarly the construction of falling fence at Apapa waterworks was put at N7.3million,” the petition reads.

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 Insisting that the aforementioned funds had nothing to do with the disengaged staff, AUPCTRE, NANNM and SSASGOC, therefore, requested the Lagos State House of Assembly to support the illegally sacked workers and Lagos residents who are now victims of the sleaze that has destroyed the waterworks in Lagos.

 Specifically, they appealed to the Lagos State House of Assembly to ensure the unconditional reinstatement of all disengaged staff of the LWC and probe all the water contracts awarded in Lagos since 1999, identify and blacklist identified contractors who are found wanting and recoup all diverted funds.

 They also demanded a halt to the ongoing privatization plans of water in Lagos, maintaining that evidences abound that in virtually all cities where privatization model was experimented, it led to rate hikes, poor quality service, shut-offs for the most vulnerable people in communities who could not pay, lay-offs of workers and other consequences that erode the universal access to water advocated by the United Nations (UN).

“We urged the Lagos State Government to terminate all partnerships and any collaboration that aims to foist water privatization in Lagos and fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government representing the people.

 “The government should build the political will to prioritize water for the people by investing in the water infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, which will create jobs, improve public health and boost the Lagos economy.

 “The government should, as a matter of necessity, increase budgetary allocation to the water sector and ensure pin point oversight on how the funds are spent and establish a Water Trust Fund that will expand public financing of the water sector,” they stated.

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  In his intervention, Executive Director of Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI), Philip Jakpor, said the protest march was in solidarity with the illegally sacked workers.

 “We anticipate that the Lagos State House of Assembly will investigate the alleged sleaze at the Corporation which we believe is responsible for the parlous state of water services in Lagos. We reject a situation in which the Lagos State Government will make scapegoats of the innocent workers. They should be recalled without delay,” he said.

 Responding to their prayers, Chairman, House Committee on the Environment, Hon. Rasheed Shabi and a member of the House, Hon. Kehinde Joseph, who received the protesters and their petition on behalf of Speaker of the House, Right Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, commended AUPCTRE and its supporters for the peaceful manner in which the demonstration was conducted.

 “I will present your petition and demands to the leadership of the House and I can assure you that you will get justice. We will summon the management of the Corporation and the labour leaders for negotiations and we will get back to you as quickly as possible,” Shabi said.

 On his part, Joseph assured the protesters that the lawmakers will do everything within their powers to address the issues and get back to the labour leaders and their members as soon as possible



Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600, hubitokoria@gmail.com

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