Be transparent on N256.7m lead remediation project, FG urged
The Federal Government has been called upon to be transparent as it commences a N256.7 million lead poison remediation project in Shikira, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
The chief executive, Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal, who made the call in a statement, also implored government to come up with a clear work plan showing the actual amount budgeted and a definitive period for completion of the project.
Lawal said it was “important to state that N256,688,000 was appropriated in the 2016 budget for ‘Characterization & Remediation of Lead Poison Contaminated Communities’ that was signed by Mr. President
“This is important, so as to enable us effectively participate in monitoring the process and providing the public with all necessary information they may require,” he said.
One year and three months ago, an outbreak of lead poisoning in Shikira killed 28 children and left over 300 others below the ages of five with high level contaminants in their blood.
While commending the government for commencing the cleanup, he said the exercise was expected to prevent further exposure, open the door of opportunity for the treatment of those already affected as well as restore the ecosystem and ensure livelihood sources.
He also commended MSF/ Doctors Without Borders for their relentless efforts and patience for the success of the initiative and their willingness to render free medical services to the victims as soon as the cleanup was completed.
CODE also called on the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals to revisit the report by OK International and ensure that its recommendations were followed in subsequent interventions and plans to avert any possible repeat of the ugly situation elsewhere in the country.