10 November 2012

Nigeria: More Children Risk Lead Poisoning in Zamfara

Stakeholders of the Zamfara Lead Poisoning Group, in collaboration with Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders, have said that without immediate government intervention, more children are at risks of lead poisoning in Zamfara State.

In a statement signed by the Humanitarian Affairs officer, Hossana Fox and made available to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND yesterday, the group said, "There is no time to waste as children continue to suffer and die needlessly.

Fox added that the stakeholders in the Zamfara lead poisoning crisis want the immediate release of funds for the remediation of lead contamination in Bagega.

"This is an essential step to enable the life-saving medical treatment of the children in that area work effectively.

"We support the working plan made by the Zamfara Environmental Agency and TerraGraphics, and recommend that the funds be disbursed according to this working plan," it further read.

The group maintained that the federal government implemented a mechanism to ensure accountability and transparency, as well as ensure that funds are effectively used for their intended purposes.

The stakeholders called for the immediate release of the funds so as to begin and finish the remediation efforts before the 2013 rainy season, adding that the disbursement of funds, budgets and recipient organisations should be publicly announced to promote transparency.

The group further called on the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) to provide easier ways for informal miners to become legitimate and access licenses as it would help miners access safer mining techniques and equipment, while reducing the risks of poisoning.

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