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Japheth Omojuwa:#SaveBagega: President Jonathan has moved, time for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to shake things (Y! FrontPage)

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A lot of credit must of course go to the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who moved faster than his usual self to order for the release of funds for the remediation of Bagega.

It was certainly one up for digital activism and social media last week when the President budged to the uproar and demands of Nigeria’s netizens over the lead poisoned children of Bagega. A lot of credit must also go to former Kwara State Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki who picked the Bagega issue from where he had been part of it last year. Helped to make the necessary power moves and even paid a short notice visit to Bagega in Nigeria’s Zamfara State to see things for himself. The former Governor also set up a N500,000 seed fund for a new cooperative in order to get the women off the largely dangerous process of mining.

A lot of credit must of course go to the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who moved faster than his usual self to order for the release of funds for the remediation of Bagega. He deservingly gets all these knocks be it for the corruption of his government or his grand delusion of calling this current mess a transformation but he deserves this praise just as much. It is not everyday a Nigerian President overlooks bureaucracy to deal with this pressing issues as he has. Yes I know this does not solve the problem of the many Bagegas in Nigeria but this is an isolated issue that must be seen in this same way.

The ball has now fallen on Dr. Okonjo Iweala’s feet. These children’s life cannot wait for bureaucracy because once the rains reach Bagega, the hands of death would come even closer to them. Your mind uttered a silent “God forbid,” but this has since been forbidden by God because the responsibilities to save the situation are right in our hands. The minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy must now reach out to the mother in her, connect with her humanity and make sure that when the story of Bagega is written, it would not be said that she stopped the saving grace that’d have to save these children. What can be done has to be done now! I understand the process of releasing money takes donkey years but I am glad all of the officials involved are not robots, they are able to know when urgent and life threatening realities need urgent and life saving measures.

If Bagega must be saved, it must be done now. Doctors are on ground and are only awaiting the remediation process and once this is done, they can get on with the subsequent phases of the treatment. Civil Society Organisations must commit more time and resources to Bagega. According to the Emir of Bagega, successive governments have abandoned the people of Bagega and their basic means of existence rests on the daily danger of mining in the most dangerous of ways. People die doing these things. One thing is to get Bagega’s children living a healthy life again another is to ensure Bagega is a good enough habitat for humans to dwell. As it is today, it is barely close to that. The first moves to #SaveBagega have been made and nothing has been achieved, it is time to keep the ball rolling so that all of us can score on this one. If the children of Bagega live many Nigerian children would indeed find a renewed hope in a country that sometimes pretends not to see its own citizens as human beings who also need care like its foreign hospitals’ dependent office holders. Time ticks and the rains come soon enough. We cannot afford to fail!

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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