The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sought the support of law enforcement agencies against the illegal hawking of drugs and the use of carbide to ripen fruits.
Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of NAFDAC, made the call at the Southeast zone media sensitisation on ‘Dangers of drugs hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide’ on Tuesday in Awka.
Adeyeye, who was represented by Leonard Omokpariola, director, chemical and evaluation research, said that drug hawkers constituted a serious threat to national security.
She added that the ripening of fruits with carbides was another public health challenge as the consumption of such fruits was dangerous to health.
“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.
“There are concerns about the danger and health implications of these two nefarious activities by certain unpatriotic and unscrupulous citizens.
“The agency is taking stringent regulatory actions to stem this dangerous tide in the country and we cannot do it alone.
“We solicit the cooperation and support of all other law enforcement agencies, media and well-meaning Nigerians in riding the country of this harmful and shameful practice,” Adeyeye said.
She also warned that illegal drug hawkers arrested by NAFDAC would be prosecuted.
According to her, no offender will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law.
In his presentation, Onyishi Ogbonna, Anambra State Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), promised to support NAFDAC in the fight against drug hawking in the state and country.
“We heard that hawkers are also the major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers.
“We want to pledge our support with NAFDAC in this crusade to sanitise our society,” he said.
In his remarks, Abubakar Jimoh, director, public affairs, NAFDAC, said the media were important tools in the campaign against the menace of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with carbides.
“People die needlessly because of lack of knowledge and ignorance. We urge the media to join us in this crusade to conscientise and educate the Nigerians.
“It is a moral burden on all of us. We need to take the campaign to the nooks and crannies of the country to win the war against these two hydra-headed public health menaces,” Jimoh said.