Where is the 200m released for Lead Poisoning Treatment in Zamfara
By Sani Mafara
At a stakeholder’s town hall meeting organized by Global Right and Partners for Justice in Zamfara, stakeholders expressed deep concern with the where about of the 200M released to the Federal Ministry of Health by the President as intervention to the ongoing clinical management of the lead victims in Zamfara State since October 2013.
Country Director of Follow the Money International a non-governmental organization Mr Hamzat Lawal who raised the alarm at a paper presentation explained that, since when the Federal Government released the proposed 850M as intervention to Zamfara State, the Federal Ministry of Health has not spent a Kobo out of its share of 200M.
He noted that while the Federal Ministry of Environment spent up to 95% of its share of 475M released for remediation of 450 houses in Bagegga, the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has spent up to 26% of its share of 153M released for safer mining campaign.
He explained that though the wet milling machines procured and install by the Ministry of Mines were at the time of the meeting not functional but to some extent the presence of the Ministry at some of these mining communities could be established unlike the Federal Ministry of Health.
He noted that based on their findings at the Federal Ministry of Finance Abuja the 200M share of the Federal Ministry of Health has been released since October last year but their profile in terms of spending is still reading Zero 8 months after accessing the money.
Mr Hamzat further stressed that, all the facilities including the Machines purportedly brought to Zamfara State were not procured with the 200M because their findings revealed that WHO procured them as intervention through the Ministry.
He added that, Follow the Money, had written three FOI letters to the Federal Ministry of Health demanding for the release of the strategic plans of the Ministry in relation to the money but up to date there is no response.
Though the representative of the Federal Ministry of Health at the meeting Mr Moses Anieofik made attempt to clarify some of the issues raised against the Ministry, stakeholders especially the local miners from the affected villages made the atmosphere not conducive.
Stakeholders agreed to took it up with the Federal Ministry especially that the MSF who had been the sole international body treating these infected children is exiting the state by end of this year.