According to reports, at least 28 children under the age of five have died as a result of drinking water poisoned by lead in Nigeria’s Niger State.

The victims were reported to have had lead levels 17 to 22 times higher than the limits established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A government health official in Niger State, Mohammed Usman, attributed the cause of high lead levels to toxic impurities leached in the water as a result of villagers illegally mining for gold.

He also stated that the villagers initially blamed witchcraft for the deaths.

Nigeria has been affected by lead poisoning from illegal mining. The most notorious case took place in Zamfara State in 2010 where at least 163 people died.

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