Be trans­par­ent on N256.7m lead re­me­di­a­tion project, FG urged

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Chidimma C. Okeke

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.

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