THE RAINS MUST NOT HALT THE CLEAN UP OF LEAD POISONED COMMUNITIES IN ZAMFARA

[ZAMFARA, April 15, 2013] In a conference room of 38 participants called the “stakeholders meeting on lead poisoning in Zamfara State”, it was stated clearly that while considerable progress has been seen on the cleanup of Bagega, more attention should be on the availability of equipment meant for remediation, and that other federal MDAs – Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Federal Ministry of Health should make their action plan open, just as the Ministry of Environment has done.

“We will continue to emphasize on the importance of transparency and accountability in the cleanup of Bagega – Aside the Ministry of Environment, the other two MDAs – Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Federal Ministry of Health should become visible in Bagega now, they got 158.3 million and 200 million respectively and its 52 days now since these funds were released , “ said Oludotun Babayemi, the co-creator of Follow The Money, a non-profit coalition of data experts and development practitioners that has been advocating for the release of funds meant to clean up Bagega.

As experts have given much insight into how lead poison affects not only children under five year’s old, but even elder ones, it was reiterated that institutional control is the most sustainable solution to the lead poisoning cases in Zamfara. Dr Idris Adamu Goji, the project director for the remediation of Bagega affirmed that “any amount of lead in the body can be dangerous, and even for adults; as such every stakeholder in Nigeria should be working on how our indigenous institutions could help in putting a halt to this menace”.

Doctors without Borders (MSF), a medical humanitarian emergency organization that has been treating lead poisoned children in Zamfara since 2010 confirmed that medical intervention will start on April 22, 2013. “We still have our staff working in 6 villages in Zamfara, while we have started the clinic renovation in Bagega, consequently, we are to start medical intervention on April 22, 2013” said Zakaria Muwatia, the Anka project director for MSF

On April 10, 2013, the stakeholders visited Bagega immediately after meeting at the Anka Local Government, and little did they know that the first rain will hit the community on that very day. “Much reason why we have been calling on transparency was to avoid bureaucracy which might delay the completion of the remediation of Bagega, as remediation might stop if the rain become persistent, it is a known fact that half remediation is no remediation” exclaimed Hamzat Lawal, Co-Creator of Follow The Money.

For more information about Follow the Money campaign on Zamfara Lead Poisoning, please visit: http://followthemoneyng.org

For more information, kindly contact:

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

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

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