Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has raised alarm over the various ways Nigerians eat poison as food. Ogbeh who made the disclosure at a one-day public hearing on Food Security Bill, organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja, said such food processing and preparation habit is responsible for many diseases ravaging the lives of Nigerians, including cancer.
According to the Minister, bean paste (Moi-Moi) becomes poisonous when cooked in cellophane (nylon) bags because nylon contains a large amount of dioxins considered injurious to health. He advised lovers of moi-moi to use wrapping leaves as they do not contain harmful substances.
Similarly, he said the consumption of sachet water, commonly called pure water, exposed to sun at over 28 degree Celsius has been responsible to many cases of kidney and liver failure among Nigerians. He said many Nigerians have died from eating grains preserved with very high dosage of pesticides by farmers and traders.
The minister also cautioned against poorly boiled meat, which he said could cause tuberculosis. “Many of the cows being moved from one place to the other by herdsmen are already infected with tuberculosis. But our practice of boiling meat very well here has been the saving grace of people being infected with the deadly disease,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians also risk their health by eating smuggled frozen chicken often preserved with formalin, a chemical commonly used in the preservation of corpses and also by eating crops affected by farmers’ wrong application of fertilisers. “Unknown to many farmers, there is specific fertiliser for specific crops in specific states in line with soil texture,” he said.
Ogbeh commended the Senate Committee for working on the three bills—Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service Bill 2016, Food Security Bill 2016 and Nigerian Institute of Soil Science Bill 2016—which he said would help to enhance food security in the country and curb the production of poisonous foods.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki in his speech said the Senate was moved into introducing and working on the bills because of the conviction that the agriculture sector holds the key to food security and diversification of the nation’s economy.