Remediation of Lead-Poisoned Bagega Community Begins After 2 Years.

On February 11, 2013, remediation (environmental clean-up) of the lead poisoned Bagega (with a population of about 7,535 where 1,500 children awaits urgent treatment for lead poisoning) in Zamfara, Northern Nigeria commenced. Bagega has been awaiting remediation since 2010, when 400 children died and thousands were poisoned.

Children pan for gold in Bagega Nigeria. Source: marcusbleasdale.com

Children pan for gold in Bagega Nigeria. Source: marcusbleasdale.com

“On Sunday, February 10, 2012 3 vehicles and 9 members of staff were received from the Zamfara Ministry of Environment to proceed with preliminary remediation activities. The following day, Monday, February 11, 2013, testing of compounds began where the remediation and medical team of Doctors Without Borders would be staying” said Simba Tirima of TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering,the major consulting partner for the remediation of Bagega. With respect to a solution to lead poisoning in such communities, Simba Tirima reiterated that the only long term solution to lead poisoning crisis in Zamfara is institutional control and not a total ban on artisanal mining. “We would not want to be called again in 5 years for the remediation of a community in Zamfara, as such the three arms of government should come up with a policy framework that will encourage safer mining practices amongst the artisanal miners” said Tirima

It will be recalled that on January 28, 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria approved the release of about 850 million Naira from the Ecological Funds to be distributed amongst the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, mainly for the remediation of communities affected by lead poisoning in Zamfara State. “The medical team of Doctors Without Borders will start moving into Bagega on February 12, 2013 to be precise, to prepare for screening of children under five years” affirmed Ivan Gayton, Head of Mission of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria.

The Follow the Money (FTM) team, a not –for –profit group that has been advocating for the release of funds to remediate Bagega since October 2012 enjoins all stakeholders to keep up with the momentum at which remediation has started, in order to avoid any delay, as the clean up exercise should have started in October 2012. “As much as we are grateful to the Federal Government and everyone that ensured the release of funds, and the start of clean up, accountability and transparency should be upheld, otherwise remediation might be stalled and we will have to start all over again” said Oludotun Babayemi , Co – creator of the group.

For more information about the remediation of Bagega, please visit http://followthemoneyng.org

For more information, kindly contact:

In Zamfara/Abuja, for Follow The Money, Oludotun Babayemi (English) +234-0-813-490-8561 or
oludotun@followthemoneyng.org

In Zamfara/Abuja, for Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal (English) +234-0-806-869-9956 or
hamzy@followthemoneyng.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *