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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FG saves 1,500 children from lead-contamination


a site at the mining in Zamfra, courtesy: HRW

The Federal Government of Nigeria has released fund for the cleaning up of lead-contaminated village in northern Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan may have lived up to 
his promise in releasing funds to clean up lead-contaminated villages in across the country, especially to save the lives of those affected who are mostly children in the state of Zamfara, reports, Human Rights Watch.

It was also gathered that by releasing the funds would facilitate paves the way for at least 1,500 children in urgent need of life-saving medical treatment in northern Nigeria to receive treatment.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Jonathan promised in May 2012 to allocate $4 million, about N627,999,679, for environmental remediation and safer mining practices to address what has been described as the worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history, but no funds had been forthcoming.

This week’s announcement followed a sustained awareness-raising effort by domestic and international organizations, including a joint Facebook campaign by the Nigerian Youth Climate Action Network and Human Rights Watch.
 
“President Jonathan’s decision to release the cleanup funds could be life-saving for countless children,” said Jane Cohen, health researcher at Human Rights Watch, adding that after years of living in contaminated homes, children will now be able to live and play without risking their lives.

The lead-affected villages are located in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara, a region where artisanal gold mining is an important source of livelihood. High levels of lead in the rock ore, combined with traditional, labor-intensive mining practices have caused widespread lead poisoning, especially among children.

According to official estimates, more than 400 children have died from lead poisoning in Nigeria, and more than 1,500 have elevated lead levels and are at risk of long-term disability and death.

 Remmy Nweke/NaijaAgroNet.com.ng


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