Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has warned Nigerians to refrain from consuming fruits ripened by calcium carbide, citing the harmful health effects.
Expressing concern over common ignorance of these risks, the agency has initiated media sensitization efforts to educate the public .The statement was made during a media sensitization workshop in Bauchi convened to discuss the dangers of drug-hawking and artificially ripened fruits.
Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, representing Professor Adeyeye, underscored the importance of these awareness efforts in light of the dangers posed by calcium carbide-ripened fruits.
Professor Adeyeye explained that while fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet, offering a variety of health benefits, the consumption of calcium carbide-ripened fruits could lead to severe health issues.
She warned that such fruits often contain impurities such as arsenic and lead, which are carcinogenic and could cause kidney, liver and heart failure.
The director emphasized the urgency of taking strong regulatory actions against these practices, referring to the collective voices of concerned Nigerians calling for a halt to the dangerous crime of drug-hawking and the ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.
”The flag-off for this sensitization workshop today, is again a fulfilment of my promise to sustain and strengthen NAFDAC`s existing collaboration with the Association of Health Journalists in Nigeria towards mobilizing, educating, sensitizing, and concertizing 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 said.
. According to NAFDAC Director of Public Affairs, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, the media sensitization workshop is part of the NAFDAC’s ongoing prioritization of public health education, as championed by health journalists in Nigeria.
He also stated that In 2022, the agency reportedly trained 800 journalists to aid in disseminating crucial health information and by the close of the recent workshop, an additional 700 journalists would have received training. Dr Jimoh urged the media to play a key role in instigating a change in societal attitudes and behaviours, stating that increased sensitization campaigns and media interaction was a revised strategy aimed at educating the public.