The Lagos State Government on Friday described reports that the foreign firms it is partnering in the water sector failed in other countries as "a blatant falsehood."
Muminu Badmus, the managing director of the Lagos Water Corporation, said in a statement that shortlisted firms for the Adiyan II Project are those with proven track records and records of contract accomplishment all over the world.
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria had accused the Lagos State government of partnering with "failed" multinationals as it seeks to improve water supply in the state.
The firms involved in the partnership include AG Gold Trust Nigeria Limited, Vision Scape Water Solutions Limited/Metito, Veolia/Shoreline Group and Abegoa, Naston & Partners.
Mr. Badmus, an engineer, challenged the author of the publication to reveal any false project
According to Akinbode Oluwafemi, a deputy director at ERA/FoEN, the Lagos State government had pencilled down Veolia, Metito, and Abengoa to take control of Adiyan II which will supply water to millions of Lagosians "despite their track record of abuse around the world."
While Veolia, a French multinational corporation, had mismanaged the water systems in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where residents are threatened with lead poisoning, according to Mr. Oluwafemi, Abengoa, a Spanish firm, was behind the water privatization scheme in Bolivia that sparked widespread protests known as the 'Cochabamba Water War.'
In his statement, Mr. Badmus challenged Mr. Oluwafemi to provide proof of any project executed by the shortlisted firms anywhere in the world.
The water corporation boss said the government had debunked media reports about the foreign firms two months ago, when it stated that the Corporation published an Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the development of the 70MGD Adiyan Phase II Water Scheme through Public - Private Partnership in three national dailies and Global Water Intelligence, an internationally reputable water sector publication, based on which the above-mentioned firms were shortlisted out of seven that indicated interest.
"The true situation is that these firms are highly ranked among the 25 leading firms privately financed water/wastewater treatment plants around the world, in a study undertaken by Global Water Intelligence (GWI) in 2016," Mr. Badmus said.
"We totally condemn the campaign of calumny, misinformation and fabrication of lies against the honest and genuine efforts of the LWC under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to sustainably solve the water challenges in Lagos.
"For the avoidance of doubt, World Bank is not involved in this project by material particular."
Mr. Badmus said the PPP model employed in Lagos Water Corporation is one of the veritable options as well as to obtain additional funding in view of dwindling revenues, to meet the water demand gap as a result of ever-increasing Lagos population.
"The present administration of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is committed to the provision of potable water and will continuously give Lagos Water Corporation, necessary support to deliver on this important responsibility of providing potable water in sufficient quantity to Lagosians."