Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday called for an urgent measure to tackle the incessant outbreak of lead poisoning in Niger State.
Saraki, who stated this when the representatives of Doctors Without Borders led by Dr. Simba Tirima paid him a courtesy call, decried the outbreak of lead poisoning in Rafin Local Government Area of the state due to small scale or artisanal mining of gold in the area.
He said it was unfortunate that the incident in Niger State occurred at a time the nation was yet to recover from the ravages of a similar incident in Bagega, Zamfara State, where over 400 children were affected in 2013.
He lamented that 28 children had already died as a result of the lead poisoning in Rafin Local Government of Niger State and called on the Ministry of Solid Minerals to be proactive in tackling the incidence so as to safeguard the health of the people living in the area, especially children.
“I want to assure you that this National Assembly will make this issue a matter of great urgency to ensure that all that was made available for the remediation that needs to be done either through the funds of the ecological agency or through the 2016 budget, is done not only to address the case in Niger State but also we must be proactive and there must be a level of funding available for this.
“This cannot happen in any developed society today. We need to begin to also identify areas in this country where gold mining is resulting to lead poisoning. Like he (Tirima) said, we cannot stop the miners because as a result of poverty, this is their only source of income to survive,” he said.
Earlier, Dr. Tirima commended the Senate president for his efforts towards curtailing the lead poisoning incidence in Bagega, Zamfara State, in 2013, when he was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology.

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