The death of three persons in Kano and the hospitalization of 183, arising from the consumption of expired Juice is a wakeup call to government agencies, in-charge of what we consume in the country. Reports have it that, the citric acid powered drinks that were consumed by the dead and those battling for survival in the hospital expired one year ago, yet nobody was able to find out, not until now the unexpected happened. This unfortunately confirms how we are, – a country where virtually everything, including human lives are reduced to politics, and agencies in-charge of carrying out diligent and statutory duties are busy chasing shadows, and no one cares! The Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ibrahim Tsanyawa disclosed that 284 people were initially hospitalized and that 101 persons fortunately regained consciousness and have since been discharged from the state hospital, leaving 183, still recuperating in the hospital facilities.
The last may not have been heard about the Kano unfortunate incident of expired Juice because, chances are that, same citric acid powered drink may have found its way in the markets/stores of other states in Nigeria – through unscrupulous persons that put money above every other thing. We are aware that the newly appointed National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Chairman, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd), is going round some states to campaign and solicit for collaborative efforts to right the wrong. Similar approach should be adopted by other agencies of government, especially the ones that deals on foods and drugs, including industries involved in food production. The sale of expired products is an age long story in the society, even when things were much better compared with the present time, where almost everybody is struggling to make ends meet, owing to the bad economy that is not abating.
However, this is also the time government should be on top of its game, at least to sensitize people in Kano and Nigeria at large, to develop the habit of label reading before products are consumed. To forestall further loss of lives, also, it behoves on Kano State and other states in the federation to start what is called “tracking the distribution channel”, to stop any killer product from further circulation. This should be followed with strong publicity campaign to dissuade the unsuspecting general public from consuming the Juice, whether expired or not, and again to investigate the preservatives used in producing the Juice. The challenge really is that when the dead are buried and the sick recovers and discharged from the hospital, this matter and those culpable are shielded and eventually escape justice.
This has been the trend and that is why also the country is not making much progress in all facet even when we claim we have Laws that can deal with any situation as the case may be. Of expired juice in Kano and other states The situation of the country, even globally calls for caution in taking and dealing on fake products. Recall that, there was a time when a government appointee in the person of Late Prof. Dora Akunyili fought to a standstill, against fake and adulterated products across the country. Such feat should be re-enacted and when it happens, there would be less worries in the society and those who are habitually enmeshed in producing or promoting products that are inimical to the wellbeing of the citizens certainly would have to think twice. Already the society is bedeviled with legion of problems in which case waste of human lives and other vices inimical to the well being of the people and the society is threatened almost on daily basis.
We call on the Kano State Government and by extension the federal government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the killer Juice and those behind the distribution of the product in the state. We also call on other states to be on the guard, by ensuring that adulterated and expired products do not enjoy free entry and exit, but if on the contrary, those behind such products the society frowns at should be given the marching order and sanctioned appropriately to serve as a deterrent for others that may want to toy with peoples’ lives for sake of money. We equally advocate for inter-governmental agencies collaboration to effectively curb the menace of fake products in the country.