The Chairman of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Abraham Nwali, has said that the state has the highest number of people with eye defects in the country.
Nwali, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Religious and Welfare Matters, Very Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, said this during an interactive session with journalists in Abakaliki, capital of the state.
He warned that the health of Ebonyi residents who live and work at stone-based areas, was at stake.
Nwali noted that Governor Umahi had been briefed about the development and he had consequently directed that regular awarenesses campaigns should be carried out to sensitise the people on the need to be careful with what they do while at quarry sites.
The Governor’s aide, who lamented the near absence of insurance cover for people working at stone-based environments in the country, said that owners of the pits should bear the brunt that confronts workers at quarry sites, adding, “They too, deserve a better treat at workplace.”
He said, “I have mentioned it to His Excellency, Governor Umahi and he is aware of it and he is in full support of any effort aimed at addressing the challenges that people, especially women who work at stone based areas face. Lead is dangerous. Statistics have shown that a lot of people have become blind as a result of exposure of the eyes to lead.
“ I said that these people working in stone-based areas must be properly covered, because you can’t stop them from their source of daily livelihood. And we have to keep reminding them of the importance of their health. And we have also begged and suggested that anybody with any form of eye problem, should make himself or herself available for checkup.
“And we have actually moved to the zones to sensitise these people and for proper coverup.
“It’s very unfortunate we don’t have insurance for people in this nation, because, otherwise those who are the owners of the pits must insure their stewards to make sure their lives are well taken care of. It’s dangerous for these people to go down to the pits without properly covering themselves.
“The only way is for us to keep reminding these women working in stone based areas that their lives are at stake, each time they take this lead into their eyes.
“Lead is too strong. It doesn’t dissolve and it leads to blindness. Our role is to campaign against it, encourage the women to go for regular checkup and assist them to pay their bills.”