NIGERIA – In an effort to combat the perilous practice of the artificial ripening of fruits with calcium carbide, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently convened a crucial one-day media and stakeholders’ engagement.

Held in Bauchi, the workshop, titled ‘Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide,’ aimed to shed light on the serious health risks associated with these activities.

Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, delivered a stern warning to Nigerians about the dangers lurking in artificially ripened fruits using calcium carbide.

She stressed that NAFDAC is taking rigorous regulatory measures to curtail the hazardous trends of drug hawking and the use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening across the country.

Adeyeye urged the public to exercise caution by avoiding the purchase of drugs from hawkers and refraining from consuming fruits ripened with calcium carbide.

This plea was not made lightly, as the Director-General highlighted the fact that these practices are claiming unsuspecting lives, necessitating urgent action to raise awareness and discourage patronage.

The Director-General recalled NAFDAC’s decisive steps in 2019, which included public sensitization through various media channels and enforcement actions like intelligence operations and market raids resulting in the seizure and destruction of dangerous products.

Despite these efforts, concerns about the persisting dangers and health implications of these activities remain.

Empowering media for change

The workshop marked NAFDAC’s commitment to maintaining and strengthening its collaboration with journalists to educate and sensitize the public about these harmful practices.

Professor Adeyeye emphasized the role of Nigerian journalists as frontline warriors in eradicating drug hawking and the unsafe ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.

In his address, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director of Public Affairs at NAFDAC, underlined the media’s significance as a tool for behavioral change and development.

He stressed that accurate and quality information dissemination would help bridge the gap of public ignorance concerning sub-standard goods and the use of harmful chemicals, with a specific focus on calcium carbide for fruit ripening.

This concerted effort by NAFDAC and the media is a pivotal step towards safeguarding public health and saving lives.

By addressing these pressing concerns, Nigeria moves closer to ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens, underscoring the importance of regulatory bodies and media collaboration in protecting public health.

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