By Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos – The World Safety Organisation (WSO) has called on agencies responsible for food safety in Nigeria to educate the public about the health risks of using sniper as food preservatives.
Dr Okunola Olusola, Deputy Director of WSO, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday that sniper was a poisonous pesticide that could kill instantly.
Olusola was reacting to the alleged use of sniper on produce by traders, especially in preventing weevil from penetrating beans.
“Sniper is a chemical that is not supposed to be sprayed on what one is eating, they are pesticides.
“People that are using it on crops are doing so because they really do not know the hazard it can cause; all they know is that they don’t want weevils.
“Sniper is a very dangerous chemical; it can be very poisonous and can cause respiratory paralyses and death.
“It can also, over a long period of time, lead to damage of vital organs like the brain, liver, kidney and even, cause cancer.
“Beans should be properly sealed to prevent weevils’ penetration.
“The use of old sack method of stacking beans should also stop,’’ he said.
Olusola, also a Paediatric Neurologist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), advised people to always parboil beans, throw away the water and add fresh water to cook.
He explained that throwing away the first water would prevent the chemical from fully penetrating the beans.
The neurologist also called on stakeholders, in charge of food safety in Nigeria to send out the task force to monitor Nigeria markets and ensure such products were impounded.
He said: “What we need now is for the Ministry of Agriculture to swing into action by sending their task force to monitor food produce sold in the Nigerian market to consumers.
“ They can know any produce that is sprayed with chemical just by taking a sample of it, even if the smell is no more on it, the chemical can still be trapped.’’
He urged stakeholders to also sensitise people on food preservation.
The National Coordinator of Safety Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (SAEF), Mr Dapo Omolade, urged the Federal Government to ban the sale of the sniper in stores nationwide.
“Sniper is a killer agent and people buy it and use without really knowing its effect on human health.
“The effect of inhaling this insecticide is fatal, it can kill and affect everything about human neurology and internal organ,’’ Omolade said. (NAN)