Youth groups under the auspices of Bade Emirate Youths Initiative for Good Governance (BEYIGOG) and Movement Against Child and Sexual Abuse Foundation (MACSAF) have staged a peaceful demonstration to express their concern over rising food adulteration, particularly in Gashua, Bade Local Government Headquarters of Yobe State.
Mr Bashir Muhammad Rancass, who led the protest on Thursday, told our correspondent that their action came up after about seven persons mostly women were caught in doors mixing bell pepper (tattase) with other unhealthy preservatives, chemicals and substances to add to its quantity and colour.
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Rancass disclosed that some of the substances being used included animal dung dust, local dye, dried kolanut among others.
He said after a thorough investigation, they were made to understand that some of the women were contracted by dealers to do the job.
He lamented that the problem is that perpetrators involved in such exercises did not even bother about the health implication of their actions, adding that they are just after making money.
“We don’t need a scientist to know animal waste, saw dust or the colourant they are using, which are not good for human health or consumption.
“This community in Bade Emirate, particularly Gashua, is identified as highly prone to kidney disease not only in the state but indeed in the North East. It seems to us that some of the causes of this disease are ultimately man-made based on what we saw on the ground.”
He said the objective of the protest was to request for a lasting solution to stop incessant food adulteration in the state.
“And the easy way to that is for the government to come up with by-laws prohibiting all sorts of food adulteration that will subject any offender to punishment.
“We have informed all authorities including the local government council, the emirate and various security agencies of our mission and now that some of the perpetrators are taken to court, we demand justice to take its full course.
“Bade emirate has done everything to us and we will never fold our arms to see our parents and younger ones dying from diseases caused by harmful food adulteration by some of us,” Rancass said.
Meanwhile, the Executive chairman of Bade Local Government Council, Alhaji Sanda Kara Bade, has confirmed the development, adding that the council is taking steps to address the issue.
He said the council had earlier this year set up a standing committee on health and environment and one of its recent discoveries is the ravaging food adulteration.
The chairman said some drastic steps were taken, which include sensitisation on the dangers of the food adulteration, registration of authorised grinding machine operators, and introduction of door-to-door surveillance .
He said already some arrested perpetrators were taken to court and the samples of their products were forwarded to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for testing.
When contacted, NAFDAC state coordinator, Lawan Musa Dadingel, said the seized substances were packaged, labelled and forwarded to the agency’s laboratory in Lagos for testing currently awaiting details.
The coordinator advised members of the public to report to NAFDAC any suspicious cases of food adulteration.