What would one give in exchange for a new iPad? One 17yr-old boy gave a kidney! Apparently, he couldn’t afford an iPad and wanted one so badly that he was willing to risk surgery. Now you have a chance to sign a petition to save the lives of 1,500 lead poisoned children here
|Primary school children in Bagega|
Bagega, a small community with a population of about 10,000 people in Northern Nigeria has about 1,500 lead poisoned children awaiting urgent medical attention.
In the heat of November, while I was in Bagega, I strolled into the only clinic, which had three blocks of dilapidated wards, with rickety patient beds (three in each block). Entering the first block, meant to be a delivery ward, was sitting a woman carrying a new born baby. One of the staff told me the woman just got delivered of a baby boy. “The only thing we are not certain about is the lead blood level of this newly born in the next coming months”.
|The extension of the clinic at Bagega|
While the numbers of children keep adding up in this community, the only hope for them is you and I, that will be responsible for getting the voices of these innocent children heard, not only by the federal government of Nigeria, but the world at large. “Children keep dying of high lead blood levels in our community, but seem underreported” affirmed Sanni M. Aliu Bagega, a 31yr-old Environmental Health Officer from Bagega.
While the government of Nigeria, during an International Conference on Lead Poisoning on May 9 and 10, 2012 , already promised $4million (NGN850million) for the clean-up of this community. About 7months now “there hasn’t been any help until now, people come to talk to us, but they won’t do anything” said Halima, a grandmother that has lost eight grandchildren to lead poisoning already.
|The contaminated Inna Gwabi Dam in Bagega where
community members fetch water, wash and have their bath
Remediation can’t wait to save the lives of these children. Apparently, we can’t afford to head to the streets, but our appeal can be forwarded through a click. Please sign the petition here on behalf of the children of Bagega. About 512 great people from 59 countries already signed, and this has made local and international media, the social media including bloggers amplify the voice of this ailing community.
On December 6, 2012 as a follow up, the Human Rights Watch launched a social media campaign seeking the president’s release of promised cleanup funds. To join the campaign asking President Jonathan to release the funds, you can visit his facebook page and comment on his last status update with the following message:
‘President Jonathan, why won’t you release the money you promised in May to clean up poisonous lead in Zamfara? Children are dying and your government’s failure to act is putting more children at risk’