From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Monday called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other regulatory agencies to collectively ensure proper public awareness on right use of chemicals.
Ogbeh particularly charged the NAFDAC and the National Agricultural Quarantine Service to to intensify their regulatory functions.
This was due to the recent reported incident of beans being preserved by Sniper pesticide.
The Minister further queried source of common cases of liver and kidney failure especially among the youth, adding that Nigerians needed to check what they consumes.
His words: “Not too long ago, there was this problem with Monsanto’s glysophate weed killer. Monsanto said it was safe, farmers said it was not safe and somebody took them to court not too long ago.
“Now we have sniper. They say it damages long if it is put in your food. Then of course, we have weevils control in beans and people use ammonium phosphate.”
“Other challenges I have mentioned this many times ago, smuggling chickens across the borders. They inject it and make it look so nice and attractive, people will rather go for it than any other type of chicken even when custom seizes and bury them, people dug it up because its free meat.
“So we are in crisis but the big problem is how do we get the people to know that this is bad? We must not sound very easy, downstream where the farmers and buyers are and the big people store it, they just don’t know. Somebody mentioned Europe but the level of education and law enforcement there is very high.
“Here, we still have to educate, not necessarily send them back to school but informing them of the dangers…. Why are so many people going down with liver, kidney and lung failure? Nobody knows exactly which particular misconduct of ours is leading to the damage of the health of our people. Add all that to bad water that people are drinking in the communities then you can see why our life expectancy is so low,” he added.
However, he tasked the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) among others to come up with a proper communication strategy before the next meeting.
In his remark, NAQS Coordinating Director, Vincent Isegbe said the Pesticide Regulatory Bill will be made available to the minister in one week.
Representative of the NOA, Mrs. Chinwe Ikaoha called for proper collation and coordination of the enlightenment campaign in order to have better effect.
She noted that those messages could be translated to various languages and disseminated to the people.