Nigeria’s ‘Save Bagega’ Effort is a Success as Remediation Ends

Culled from http://bailiffafrica.org

As the Follow the Money (FTM) team return from Bagega, Zamfara, they present us with an update on the environmental remediation of the community which sent social, traditional and international media abuzz with the hashtag #savebagega. FTM is a not –for –profit initiative of Connected Development [CODE] that advocated, tracked and visualized funds for remediation, health sustainability strategy and implementation of safer mining practice in Bagega.

The remediation (environmental clean-up) of the lead poisoned Bagega (with a population of about 7,535 where 1,500 children await urgent treatment for lead poisoning) in Zamfara, Northern Nigeria is rounding up. One of the founders of FTM Nigeria, Hamzat Lawal reports that “the people of Bagega are quite happy remediation is turning out successful, thus allowing hundreds of children to get screened for lead poisoning” from Bagega.

“The Remediation of Bagega which started March 5, 2013 is 99% complete, while the 1% remaining is the covering of the landfills. This remaining part is critical for the end of remediation. To avoid re-contamination, all landfills must be closed up and we are hopeful that by Friday, July 5, 2013, all landfills must have been closed” said Simba Tirima of TerraGraphics Foundation, the major consulting partner for the remediation of Bagega.

It will be recalled that on January 28, 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria approved the release of about 850 million Naira from the Ecological Funds to be distributed among the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, mainly for the remediation of communities affected by lead poisoning in Zamfara State.

“Since April 22, 2013, 981 children are being screened, 941 children in Bagega are to be admitted into the lead poisoning programme, while 181 are undergoing lead chelation therapy already” affirmed Michelle Chouinard, Head of Mission of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria

The Follow the Money (FTM) team, Bagega enjoins all stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations to shift advocacy towards institutionalizing safer mining in all mining communities in Zamfara. “Remediation is only a temporary intervention, the only long term sustainable solution to preventing such epidemic again is creating a local, workable, safer mining plan, that benefits both artisan miners and the government. ” said Oludotun Babayemi , Co – founder of CODE.

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