*Says fruits artificially ripened, dangerous to health
By; MKPUMA EYINNA, Abakiliki
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised alarm over the dangerous practice of sale and consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide as well as illegal hawking of drugs in the open market in Nigeria , calls on media practitioners to join the campaign and sensitization against this ugly menace as it poses a very big danger to our healthy living.
In her key note address during the South-East Zone NAFDAC Media Sensitization Workshop on Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide in Awka Anambra State, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said that drug hawkers are the major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers.
She stated that 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, adding that Drug Hawkers constitute serious threat to our national security.
“The menace of drug hawking poses serious challenge to healthcare delivery system in the country and this 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.
`The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has noticed the dangerous practice of sale and consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide as well as illegal hawking of drugs in the open market.
`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.
`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.
The NAFDAC Director General who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, said the flag – off for this sensitization workshop today is again a fulfilment of her promise to sustain and strengthen NAFDAC’s existing collaboration with Association of Health Journalists in Nigeria towards mobilizing, educating, sensitizing, and conscientizing Nigerian Journalists to play frontline role in our concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide in Nigeria.
She also advised the public not to buy dangerous non-retailed packed items from the market to prevent the risk of taking contaminated, substandard, expired and adulterated food or food fraud with grave health implications.
In their separate presentations, Mr Francis Ononiwu spoke on the manace of Drug Hawking in Nigeria while Pharm. Bitrus Fraden spoke on `Good Distribution practices and Survelance Activities Towards Prevention and Curbing of Substandard and falsified medicines in Nigeria, among others.
The one-day workshop was attended by selected journalists from the five states in South East region.