Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dead Children For Money

One hundred children recently died in a medical incident in Zamfara state, and the Federal,State, and Local Governments,did not know the deaths had occurred, or were  related. It took the coming of Medcins Sans Frontiers for the dots to be connected. Apparently, they had all died from lead poisoning, which occurred from the processing of gold mined illegally.

All the components, it seems, necessary for running present day Nigeria, were present in the incident: levels of governments out of touch with the people, a pauperized population, and a health system that did not have a clue, and corruption. Somewhere, in the background, someone benefited from these deaths. I suspect a local,or state, official, was paid to look the other way in order for the illegal mining to happen.

If these deaths had happened in war ravaged Darfur, or Mogadishu,  where lawlessness, is the fashion,one would have understood. But this happened in Nigeria, in peace time, ten years from when we want to be among the first twenty advanced economies in the world!

Is this how a pretender to the prestigious class of the advanced twenty economies, behaves? Our problem is that we do not have a plan for getting anywhere. We are running this country on haphazard arbitrariness. Like voodoo!

According to the story, the villagers had attributed the deaths of the children, to malaria. This raises very grave questions, on the statistics we keep in this country, and how we treat deaths as well. If someone had carried out a simple autopsy, as the law ought to require, the epidemic would have been detected on time, and possibly saved a lot of lives. We cannot continue like this: things must change, for good!

Zamfara state seems to be gaining an unenviable notoriety, of being anti-children.

We must be the but of jokes in every civilized clime now. We are aspiring to go to the moon, and we do not even know what our children are dying of. 

Nigeria, already has a dubious reputation of having one of the worst child mortality rates in the world, we are worse than Somalia! War and all!

Is it too much to ask, that governments at all levels, should spend the billions voted for health, on actually taking care of people, instead of buying vehicles, and attending jamborees abroad.

I have consistently maintained, that the world is not going to wait for us to get our act together; the longer we dilly dally, the more the gulf in development widens.

Until we do,


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