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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid