No fewer than 7,200 Nigerian children, have been treated for remediation of lead poisoning, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this yesterday in Abuja at the second international conference on lead poisoning associated with artisanal gold mining in Nigeria with special focus on prevention, with the theme: “Safer mining, clean environment, healthy environment, healthy communities.”
Following the outbreak of lead poisoning which occurred in Zamfara State in 2010, about 500 casualties mainly children were recorded, and another in Niger State in April, 2015, with 30 fatalities.
According to him, “The obvious consequence is the exposure of the miners, the environment and local communities to serious danger.
In areas where gold contains concentration of heavy metals like lead, exposure to the dust released from these metals as a result of the crude processing techniques, leads to serious health consequences on the persons directly involved in the mining and also for all the neighboring areas and communities. Children of course are most at risk of death and disability.
“Many will recall the outbreak of lead poisoning that occurred in Zamfara State and a lot of which have been repeated today.
In 2010, as a result of the activities of illegal gold miners’ residential compounds and village squares, studies carried out revealed that 17,000 people were affected and estimated 400 to 500 children lost their lives due to acute lead poisoning.”
The federal government and development partners helped to bring that ugly incident under control.
“Regrettably, five years after the Zamfara outbreak, another severe lead poisoning was reported on April 2015 in two villages in Niger State.”