The Nigerian Senate
The Senate on Thursday, June 2, urged the federal government to urgently approve and release the needed intervention funds from the ecological funds office for urgent remediation to help save Shikira and affected communities.
In a three prayer motion sponsored by David Umaru representing Niger East senatorial district, the Senate called on the federal government (minister of health, solid minerals and environment) to remediate the environment and promote safer mining programmes for artisanal miners.
The motion is titled: The urgent remediation of lead poisoning in Shikira community of Niger state.
The Senate also urged the Senate committee on solid minerals to review the 2007 mining act to reflect present realities in the sector as it affects local communities and artisanal miners.
While making contributions, Umaru said the Senate is shocked at the survey result of the Federal Ministry of Health confirmed that 149 children who were under age five were tested for lead.
He said the Senate is worried that environmental testing of residential buildings during the same survey indicated that there was a severe contamination of the environment.
“That early childhood exposure has been linked to violent criminal behaviour later in the early adult life.
“It is estimated that childhood lead exposure is costing developing countries 992 billion dollars annually due to reduction in IQ’s and earning potential according to a new study published recently.
” The potential of lead poisoning to irrevocably inflict long term neurocognitive deficits on generations, there is need to urgently address this issue of national importance.
“This is a community that is already living below poverty line. All the children are already infected by this epidermic,” he said.
Shehu Sanni representing Kaduna Central senatorial district said the nation should work towards establishing a nuclear act.
“What the senate can do is to take the captivities of illegal matters seriously. We have seen foreigners and Asians syphoning our resources. We should take an action that will address the problem,” he said.
There was a lead outbreak epidemic that recorded 65 cases in May 2015 in Rafi local government, which killed more than 28 children below the age of five died in Shikira village of Madaka district, Rafi local government area of Niger state.
The affected children suffered convulsion and weakness of limbs as medical examination proved that the children died from lead poising arising from illegal artisanal gold mining activities in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the federal government on Thursday, June 2, to sustain their tempo on the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.
It also urged the federal government to galvanise the public and private sector to relocate the refugees back to their homes in Nigeria and to also provide relief materials like food, shelter and clothing.