News / Africa

Activists Use Facebook to Fight Nigeria Lead Poisoning

Screenshot of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page. (Heather Murdock/VOA)Screenshot of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
x
Screenshot of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
Screenshot of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
Heather Murdock
All year long, activists have been making noise about Bagega, a Nigerian village at the epicenter of the worst known lead poisoning outbreak ever.  They want money promised by the Nigerian government so the village can be cleaned up and the children can be treated.  Now, in a last-ditch effort to get the cleanup done before the next rainy season, they've taken to the Internet, trying to build support and put pressure on the president. 

You can’t post directly on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page, but you can comment on his posts.  His last post has over 4,000 comments - everything from accusations of corruption to job requests to support and prayers. 

Activist groups Human Rights Watch and the Nigerian Youth Climate Action Network are now trying to use that page to help save thousands of children at risk of dying or being permanently disabled from lead poisoning in Bagega, a village in Zamfara State.

Zamfara State Environmental Commissioner Mouktar Lugga says cleanup of the village needs to begin immediately or else it will have to wait another year. 

"It’s psychologically devastating.  We have 2,000 children in Bagega that are clearly at risk.  We have lots of calls - people wanting to know what will happen to their children.  I don’t even want to think it cannot happen before the next rainy season," said Lugga.

The lead comes from the dust released by small-time gold mining in the area.  More than 400 children have died from lead poisoning since 2010, with thousands more falling sick.

Many villages have been cleaned up.  In May, the Nigerian government promised more than $4 million for Bagega.  But none of that money has been released.

Activist groups are asking people to urge the president to release the funds by commenting on his Facebook status.  They also want people to sign an online petition and tweet calls for the funding with the hashtag, SaveBagega.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid