Days ago, the passengers in the back seat of the taxi I was travelling in were talking of illegal mines–of “iranium” ” redium” and “plantinium”–on in Plateau State (Nigeria), purportedly owned by “yan China” (Chinese).
Their descriptions, while couched in lay terms, accurately described radioactive materials. It was a shocking thing to hear. I suddenly imagined villages poisoned by these, like the Zamfara situation years back. What was worse was that, to a man, they believed these illegal mines are run with the tacit support of state officials.
One runs into the failures of the Nigerian state writ large in the most unlikely place. For what defines governmental failure than this utter disregard for public and environmental health?