By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has declared war on drug hawkers and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.

Prof Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, NAFDAC
Director General, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during the official flag-off of “NAFDAC media sensitisation workshop on dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with carbide”.

She warned that any Drug Hawker arrested by NAFDAC will be prosecuted and jailed.

“Our Enforcement Officers are currently carrying out synchronized nation-wide operation.

“No offender will be spared from facing the full wrath of the Law. In this regard, we solicit the co-operation and support of all other Law Enforcement Agencies, Nigerian Journalists and well-meaning Nigerians in riding the country of this harmful and shameful practice.”

She said the menace of drug hawking poses serious challenge to Healthcare Delivery System in the country and has underscored NAFDAC’s resolute determination to totally eradicate the illicit trade.

“Many Drug Hawkers are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of Death who expose essential and Life Saving Medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather which degrade the active ingredients of the medicine and turn them to poisons thus endangering human lives.

“Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-literate Drug Hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines.

“Prescription drugs are also sold by the itinerant Drug Hawkers who also hold consultation, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible “patients”.

“Drug Hawkers are also the major Distributors and Suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as Armed Bandits, Insurgents, Kidnappers and Armed Robbers. Drug Hawkers constitute serious threat to our national security.

“Drugs are sensitive life-saving commodities which should not be sold on the streets/motor parks or open markets just like any other article of trade.”

Speaking further, the DG said ripening of fruits with carbides is another public challenge facing us today and the Agency has deployed a multifaceted approach to tackle the menace.

“Fruits provide the body with micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits. Fruit ripening is a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious, and attractive.

“However, the consumption of fruits such as mango, banana, plantain, guava, orange, grape, etc or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to health.

“Fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide may be ripe on the skin, the inside remain unripe. You can identify such artificially ripened fruits if you notice that the fruits are all yellow whereas the stem is dark, this is true especially with banana and plantain. In addition, naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots, while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly.”

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