Uranium contamination: ‘Radiation has been killing Adamawa villagers for years’ via Daily Trust

Babies born deformed in Michika areas


The villages include Garta, Futudou, Himike, Sina-Kwande Nkala and Ghumthi, all in Michika area.
Zira, a geologist from one of the affected villages, drew the attention of his audience comprising of a group of American investors, scientists, government officials and journalists to an unnoticed environmental disaster that he says has been going on for several decades.
In the late 1950s when Zira was a primary school pupil, helicopters conducting aeromagnetic survey to search for uranium hovered above the rocks, frightening him and the animals he tended to. By early 1980, as a young geologist, he witnessed the exploration activities in the villages by the defunct Nigeria Uranium Mining Company (NUMC). He often observed that the trees and grasses on the rocks were yellowish and poorly grown, one of the effects of uranium on the environment.
According to him, there were several deaths from strange illnesses that caused migration from communities near the uranium deposits while  the villagers sacrificed animals to appease deities, as they attributed the problem to evil spirits.
Zira said: “The people of the affected communities for many years sacrificed hundreds of goats to appease a deity, seeking for protection from evil spirits which they believe are causing unidentified illnesses, and sudden death in the communities. Little did they know they are sitting on, and drinking, water from a huge uranium deposit which was identified by radiation experts as the cause of illness and rampant deaths among them.”
His presentation drew the attention of the Federal Government and on Wednesday scientists from the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority went to inspect the area. The geoscientist, who took a medical trip to Dubai in 2015, said he is himself a victim of radiation, an after-effect of several field trips to the various sites.

“Uranium was discovered a long time ago, but we did not know the effect. Children were born with four legs, four eyes, with no eyes or with an enlarged head. Animals were born with six legs. Because the residents were illiterate, they thought it was the influence of some demonic forces. Even churches prayed to cast out the evil from the communities. The earlier the government verifies the quantity of the uranium, the better. There are Improvised Explosive Devices in the area, which I believe may compound the radiation problem,” he said.
Recently, the Federal Government commenced moves to generate electricity from nuclear materials, particularly through the exploration, exploitation and utilisation of uranium. Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, stated that it was important for Nigeria to exploit available resources in order to meet its power needs.

A medical worker at the General Hospital in Michika who sought anonymity because she is not authorised to talk to the press, confirmed that  the hospital had on a few occasions in the past recorded cases of babies born with a single leg, or without eyes or nose.
“Although we have not recently witnessed cases of strange sicknesses from radiation or of children born with deformities, in the late 1990s a baby was born with a single leg, just like a fish, with no private parts, so it was not clear whether it was boy or girl and another baby was born with a smooth, feature-less face, with no eyes or nose,” the worker stated.

Uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element on earth and is a metal. Canada is the first country to produce and process it, and provided the material used to produce nuclear explosives for the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The beginning of the nuclear weapons program marked the beginning of the uranium industry. The commercial value and the dangers of uranium are based on two characteristics which it has: It is radioactive and fissionable.
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