Group asks Nigerian government to act fast on Zamfara lead poison

The NGO condemned the lackadaisical attitude of the Ministry of health towards the death of children from lead poisoning.

A non-governmental organisation, Kick Out Siddon Look, KOSiL, has called on the Federal Government to act fast to stem the tide of the effect of lead poisoning of children in Zamfara State.

Kosil, in a statement Tuesday, signed by Tunde Fagbenle said it is reacting to a BBC news report which claims that over 460 children have so far died as a result of lead poisoning from gold mining in the state since 2009, with many others suffering different forms of long term and serious medical conditions.

The group said some of the effects of the lead poisoning on children include, paralysis, deafness, and brain damage. It also applauded the efforts being made by Médecins Sans Frontières, a global medical aid agency, in the provision of medical treatment for affected children.

” KOSiL applaud efforts by the villagers themselves to clean up the environment of lead poisoning in order to reduce the rate of infection in children and others in the areas,” the statement read.

Condemns FG

Kosil added that it is however concerned about the seeming lackadaisical attitude of both the state and Federal Ministries of Health towards the provision of medical care for affected children.

“We are horrified that so many children have perished from this preventable but hazardous condition without any serious efforts on the part of the government to protect children and others from the effects of lead poisoning in the area, which BBC estimates to be the highest anywhere in the world,” it said.

It also condemned what it called the insensitive excuse by the Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Ali Pate, that the menace is a man-made disaster, when government has done nothing to ban illegal mining in the area.

“We call on the government to prioritize the provision of necessary resources to help meet the emergency medical treatment of affected children, train medical staff, and clean up the villages affected to minimize the impact of lead particles in the environment.

“We also call on the government to urgently ensure the end of illegal mining in order to protect lives. Awareness campaigns should be vigorously pursued and alternative employment opportunities should be provided to the villagers in order to dissuade them from this hazardous activity,” the group said.


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