The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians about the dangers of fruit ripening using calcium carbide.
Naija News reports that the warning was issued on Monday during the flag-off of the NAFDAC Media Sensitisation Workshop on Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide held in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
In her address during the event, NAFDAC’s Director General, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, said there have been clarion calls by well-meaning Nigerians on the need to take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.
“In addition, several national dailies and non-governmental organisations have raised concerns on the looming danger and health implication of these two nefarious activities by certain unpatriotic and unscrupulous citizens in our country,” she said.
The DG represented by the agency’s director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, noted that the flag-off for the sensitization workshop was a fulfillment of her promise to sustain and strengthen NAFDAC’s existing collaboration with the Association of Health Journalists in Nigeria towards mobilizing, educating, sensitizing, and conscientising Nigerian journalists to play a frontline role in the concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide in Nigeria.
The NAFDAC DG stressed that drug hawking posed a serious challenge to the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria which underscored the agency’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,” the NAFDAC boss added.