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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Group wants Plateau Assembly to suspend passage of ‘anti-people’ water bill

A not-for-profit outfit, Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance, has urged the Plateau State House of Assembly to suspend moves to pass a bill seeking to privatise water supply in the state.

Simon Lalong
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State

In a letter to the Speaker of the house, Mr. Joshua Madaki, signed and dated May 17, 2019 by the group’s Coordinator, Mr Steve Aluko, the coalition alleged that the bill was anti-people.

A bill for a law to provide for a law for the Plateau water sector and other matters connected 2018 is now before the house, awaiting passage.

According to the group, the passage of the bill would translate into hike in water tariff, hence making the essential commodity available to only the rich in the state.

It noted that the passage of the bill would also make the people of Plateau State lose confidence in the government of the day and affect the fragile peace being enjoyed in the state.

The coalition also said that Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), women and youth group, religious and traditional rulers, among others, were not carried along in the process of passing the bill.

The group alleged that the public hearing held on the bill on April 16 was lopsided.

“As a coalition, our collective aim has been to ensure that the people are carried along in the policy making process and their inputs considered, to ensure effective and popular implementation.

“Mr Speaker, we will like to note that if the water sector bill is passed, there will be a hike in water tariff thereby making water available to just those that can afford it,’ the group stated.

The coalition expressed fears that it would be difficult to regulate the activities of the management of such private concerns since they would be purely profit driven.

It stated: “This will not tally with government philosophy of service delivery especially on a basic commodity as water.

“Also, the quality of the water supplied may be compromised on the altar of profit making.

“Sir, it is against this background that we sincerely appeal to this noble assembly to suspend or disregard the bill as it will not represent or serve a genuine interest of the people of the state.”

The coalition further appealed to Gov. Simon Lalong not to assent to the bill if eventually passed and transmitted to him.

The group urged the governor to consult with key the stakeholders before considering the bill.

By Polycarp Auta

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