28 January 2013

Nigeria: Saraki Lauds Jonathan for Tackling Lead Poisoning

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, at the weekend, lauded the humanitarian commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan in releasing funds for the remediation of Badega town in Zamfara State.

Badega town had been ravaged by lead poisoning.

He said the development would go a long way in saving the lives of over 1,500 children in the town.

Saraki, in a statement issued in Ilorin and signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Advocacy, Mr. Bamikole Omishore, said the release of funds for the people of Badega would be appreciated in view of the problems being faced in the town due to lead poisoning in the area.

The campaign to save Badega had been ongoing with Saraki leading the calls from the Senate to the Federal Government for a swift remediation.

The committee on environment had received a brief from a non-governmental organisation, Medicin Sans Frontiere (Doctors Without Borders) on the need to take immediate action to avert the further deaths of children.

Their reports suggested that over 400 children had died as a result of lead poisoning and another 1,500 were at the risk of death due to the environmental damage as a result of poor mining processes.

According to the statement,"the release of funds from the Federal Government for the environmental clean up in Badega is a great news for the local community as well as for the thousands of people that added their voice to the campaign."

The former governor of Kwara State noted that despite the initial delays, he believes that the president and the ministry had been working behind the scenes to fast track the remediation process, and that he had it on good authority that in the next couple of days the president will release the necessary funds for work to commence toward the remediation of the entire area.

Saraki also supported the National Save Bagega Campaign and urged the federal government to cleanse the village before the rainy season.

The statement further stated that Saraki after his visit to the Bagega community reviewed how best to enable the relevant agencies including the Ministry of Environment and the federal government to deal with the environmental challenge of lead poisoning currently ravaging the area.

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