Lead Poisoning: At least 36 Communities Affected In Zamfara
Mining activities are increasing in Nigeria and the government says it is determined to diversify its revenue sources.
However, with such activities come the risk of lead poisoning.
It is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body and the Nigerian Senate is asking the Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, to appear before it and brief on how the ministry intends to protect residents in host communities.
The Senate also wants the Minister to give a breakdown of the mining road-map and implementation framework.
At least 36 villages and communities in Zamfara State are already affected.
At plenary on Tuesday, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and four others drew the attention of other lawmakers to the crisis.
The motion is on the “Update on Lead Poisoning in Zamfara and the need to prevent further propagation of the resources theory”.
She said the senate received with great distress, updates on lead poisoning which occurred in 36 villages and communities in Zamfara.
“It was observed that besides Zamfara, mining host communities in states like Kogi, Niger and others have also been affected by the negative effects of mining practices,” she told the Senate.
While emphasising that Nigeria did not qualify as a mining state, she said that the 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) breakdown showed the mining sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP as abysmal.
“It revealed that the nation’s mining sector is almost redundant, that the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Fayemi, is working to resuscitate the sector, and that the ministry has approved a mining roadmap.”
In his contribution, Senator Magnus Abe urged the Senate to make use of the opportunity to address the situation before what happened in the Niger Delta repeats itself.
“This is how the situation in the Niger Delta started and the communities paid for it, because there are no laws in the country governing mining of minerals.
“The institutions are weak and ineffective and sometimes, we have the institutions running over themselves doing the same thing and the communities suffering for it.
“We have to use this opportunity to set it right before it gets out of hand and before we have another Niger Delta situation in this country,” Abe said.
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They asked the minister to ensure adoption of safer mining methods by mining concerns.