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Fact-Check Disproves Al-mustapha’s Claim That Borno State Have Abundant “Californium”

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Californium





Fact-check conducted by investigative news portal, PRNigeria, has disproved a claim that Borno, one of the Northeastern States, has a large deposit of a highly radioactive element, Californium-252.

The former Presidential candidate of Action Alliance (AA) and former Chief Security Officer to the Late General Sani Abacha, retired Major-General Hamza Almustapha, claimed that Borno state has a highly radioactive element, Californium -252 in abundance.

The former intelligence officer made this assertion on December 06, 2022, as a Guest at the “Reality Radio and Television Magazine Program” convened by the Brekete Family.

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According to Hamza Al-Mustapha, the said precious stone, Californium-252 is responsible for the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges bedeviling the state for more than a decade.

The 62-year-old retired military officer said Nigerians should visit Google and search for the price of californium-252 element which is worth $27m per gram.

In the viral video of the radio programme, Almustapha further alleged that the environmental degradation in the form of oil spillage and pollution that has been disturbing the oil-rich Niger Delta region is nothing but a ‘game plan’ orchestrated by powerful forces in order to satisfy their self-centered interests.

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Observations: Meanwhile, PRNigeria reports that Almustapha made the disclosure during the electioneering campaigns when most presidential candidates were busy attending media programmes town hall meetings and other political functions to promote their candidature.

Verification: PRNigeria ran a quick Google search of the most expensive elements in the world and the results indicate that Californium is one of them. The expensive elements are in the following order; Polonium-209 ($49.2 trillion), Actinium-255 ($29 trillion), Technetium-99m ($1.9 trillion), Berkelium-249 ($185 billion), Californium-249 ($185 billion), Curium-248 ($160 billion), Californium-252 ($60 billion) and Curium-244 ($185 million) to mention a few.

Further research however reveals that Californium-252 is not found in consumer products or widely available for commercial use but is found in research facilities and laboratories that use it for various purposes.

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Further checks by PRNigeria on Study.com – an online study platform with over 30 million students monthly student usage – further reveal that Californium (Cf -252) is a synthetic, or man-made chemical element, that is to say, the element is not found naturally occurring in nature, but rather produced artificially.

The name californium is derived from “California”, which is the name of the state in the United States of America where the element was first discovered and synthesized.

PRNigeria learns that Californium is a very rare and expensive element, with a cost per gram that can reach into millions of dollars. Due to its high cost and radioactive nature, it is typically used in very small quantities and only by highly specialized organizations or research institutions.

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PRNigeria used search engine options and also reached out to various contacts to verify the presence of Californium in Borno state. There is no publicly known place where the element can be found or processed in the state.

Conclusion: Based on the available information gathered by PRNigeria, the element doesn’t even exist in nature but is rather being synthesized artificially in the laboratory under strict conditions. Similarly, there is no evidence of a location in Borno state where there are large deposits of Californium.

PRNigeria, therefore, concludes that the claim by Hamza Al-Mustapha that Borno State has Californium elements in abundance is misleading and FALSE.

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(This story excluding headline contains information from PRNIGERIA)

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