Localizing the Human Right to Water in Lagos State, Nigeria



Nigeria’s water sector is characterised by abysmal network coverage despite significant natural water resources potential. Most of the water sector reforms across the country encourage private sector participation in service delivery, to improve quality and efficiency. Early attempts at water privatization in Lagos State, a pioneer for water sector reforms in Nigeria, have met with stiff opposition from local water justice advocates, mostly on human rights grounds. Similar opposition has followed water reforms and privatization efforts in other parts of the country as well. Hence, this paper uses Lagos State as a case study to examine the prospects for the localisation of the human right to water within the context of private sector participation in the water sector. The findings suggest that: (a) private sector participation solely cannot account for the failure to localize the human right to water and the legal framework regulating the water sector plays an important role in determining the outcome; (b) the extant water sector law in Lagos State entrenches various forms of inequality in water access for personal and domestic uses; and (c) there is need for further legal reforms to elevate access to safe drinking water services beyond the contractual obligation on consumers to pay for services to a human right.


human right to waterLagos StateSDG 6privatisationwater sector reformwater sector law
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 75–84
  • DOI: 10.36633/ulr.559
  • Published on 30 Oct 2020
  • Peer Reviewed