The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has alerted members of the public that some vendors in the country were applying poisonous chemicals to preserve their food to the detriment of the health of Nigerians.
The NAFDAC boss also advised Nigerians to stop patronising drugs from hawkers and unauthorised outlets, saying they should prioritise their healthcare by buying drugs from pharmaceutical outlets that are registered.
The NAFDAC boss who made this known during a Public Enlightenment Campaign organised by her agency in Bauchi on Tuesday, also revealed that among the deadly chemicals being used by meat and fish sellers was formalin, a chemical substance used to preserve dead bodies.
Adeyeye further revealed that the agency has discovered that formalin is used by some meat and fish sellers to preserve their products even though the substance is used to preserve corpse.
The NAFDAC DG therefore warned that the misuse of chemical on food products was capable of leading to many serious diseases and death, warning that anyone arrested would face the full wrath of the law.
Adeyeye, who was represented by NAFDAC’s Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Fori Tatami, also revealed that sniper, a poisonous chemical, was also being used to preserve kilishi, by sellers in some parts of the country.
“Sniper is being misused by most Nigerians. If it dries with the kilishi, it can kill the consumer,” she warned
Adeyeye expressed regret that most food vendors in the country were applying chemicals to food consumed by unsuspecting Nigerians.
She said the agency had also uncovered kerosene or fuel tankers conveying groundnut oil to markets.
“Such vegetable oil becomes contaminated and the moment people buy and use it, they will start experience serious illness and diseases,” she said.
She further said apart from discouraging Nigerians against patronising drug hawkers, the agency was also cautioning Nigerians against buying meat laced with chemicals used in chasing flies.
“Such meats are possibly laced with dangerous chemicals that chases flies away so Nigerians must be wary,” she stated, saying that Nigerians should also be wary of red palm oil as traders add a dangerous chemical call azo dye to make it reddish and appealing.
According to her, the public enlightenment campaign, which would take place in nine states in the country between August and September 2021, was to make Nigerians aware of the development and give information to NAFDAC in order to arrest and prosecute suspects.
“We should not allow people to put chemicals into the products that we consume. We need to be careful and enlighten our people,” she added.
While saying that hawking of drugs was prohibited, urging the general public to use the Mobile Authentication System inscribed on drugs to identify fake or genuine drugs, she explained that the key objective of the sensitisation programme was to intensify and expand the scope of informal and formal behaviour change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities especially at the grassroots.
“The advent of Covid-19 has aggravated the problem with the challenge posed by substandard and falsified Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). The sensitisation campaigns will therefore contribute significantly to federal government’s concerted efforts to inform, sensitise, educate and alert the public about inherent dangers of intake and use of those spurious regulated products.
“These campaign themes are intended to address the following public health challenges such as dangers of buying medicines from hawkers, abuse of codeine and self-medication especially among youths,” she said.
In his response, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, called on Nigerian to be responsible, saying no religion encourages traders to carry out activities that could lead to diseases and death.
Adamu, who was represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Baba, the Sarakin Bauchi, promised to work in partnership with NAFDAC to ensure that abusers of drugs and chemicals were stopped and brought to book.