Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Nigeria frees funds to address lead poisoning

01 February 2013, 13:04

 Lagos - Nigeria has provided nearly $3m in long-delayed financing to clean up part of an area where lead poisoning has killed hundreds of children, Doctors Without Borders said on Thursday.

The lead poisoning crisis in northwest Zamfara state that first came to light in 2010 was called the worst such epidemic "in modern history" by Human Rights Watch, with an official death toll saying 400 children were killed across the state.

The government in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, has come under mounting pressure from activists to release the funds, saying more children's lives were at risk.

The $2.7m that Nigeria has made available will be spent cleaning up the village of Bagega, one of the hardest hit areas, where up to 1 500 children are suffering from lead poisoning, Ivan Gayton of France-based Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told AFP.

Gayton said the other seven villages affected by the epidemic had been cleared of toxic material.

"The federal government, through the ministry of environment, has made available $2.7 million needed to begin the remediation in Bagega village in Zamfara state and we expect to begin the exercise on Monday," Gayton told AFP.

In November, MSF released a report that said the contaminated soil in Bagega needed to be removed before the rainy season starts in April, warning of potentially "disastrous" consequences if rainfall caused the hazardous material to spread further.

Fatalities and illnesses

"We've been sounding the alarm increasingly since November," Gayton said.

Clean up, known as remediation, cannot be carried out during the rainy season and treatment can only begin once remediation is complete.

Lead was dispersed in several Zamfara areas by the processing of ore for gold extraction using unsafe mining techniques. Illicit gold mining is more lucrative than agriculture for the impoverished farming communities.

Local communities had initially largely concealed or denied the fatalities and illnesses from lead poisoning for fear that authorities would ban their mining activities.

Gayton said that when the cleanup is complete, additional funds will be needed to put in place safer mining practices.

Most Nigerians live on less than $2 per day despite the oil wealth in the country, which has long been held back by corruption and mismanagement.

- SAPA

NEXT ON NEWS24 NIGERIAX

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Edafe Promise
Rivers State polytechnic student ...

On Thursday 2nd of September 2014, an Akwa Ibom ethnic election was to be conducted by eleco of the state students. Read more...

Submitted by
Merife Obinna
APC: The new face of opposition

The main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, since it emerged on 6th February 2013, has taken opposition to another level, leaving its work as that of a check to become that of an "anti-PDP". Read more...

Submitted by
Jibunor George Chuks
Nigeria needs recycling

Transformation is taking so much time that we are wondering if we are building a new country which has not been in existence before.  Read more...

Why is our ruling system of this ...

The government are using them like the sea water but refusing to cater for their well being look into it please.  Read more...

Submitted by
Adegboyo Solomon
Sleeping in the daylight

With open arms, we welcome the armed robbers with their stockpiled arsenals of weapon.  Read more...

Submitted by
Apochi Obute Emmapo
Things parents should note in lif...

If you don't teach your children about sex, the society will teach them the wrong values.  Read more...