Nigeria`s Parliament to probe deadly lead poisoning

The poisoning was caused by illegal mining on iron ore by villagers.

Abuja: The Nigerian senate has directed its committee responsible for solid minerals, environment and health to investigate the death of 160 people, mostly children due to lead poisoning in a village in the northern state of

Senator Sahabi Y`u, who is from the affected state, sponsored the motion calling for the probe and the members unanimously adopted his request.

The lawmaker noted that the poisoning was caused by illegal mining on iron ore by villagers who make attempts to extract precious stones.

"This resulted in the soil being contaminated from lead which then poisoned people through hand to mouth contamination and others were contaminated by contact with contaminated tools and water," he said.

The poisoning was first noticed early June by the oil rich African country`s health officials and authorities sought for assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help contain the effect.

The Nigerian health officials who noticed this during an immunisation exercise had noted that many of the deaths were among those who came in contact with soil and water having large concentration of lead.

CDC, Doctors Without Borders and WHO officials who visited the area said the poisoning was unprecedented even as children who tested positive to lead in their bodies were evacuated for treatment at Bukkuyum General Hospital.

Excavation of top layers of soil was carried out in the affected villages and contaminated soil was replaced with clean one.


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