The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the sale and supply of 30 different agrochemical products in the country. NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Dora Akunyili, explained in Abuja that the ban became necessary when it was discovered that the pesticides were causing food poisoning that had resulted in the death of many after they consumed food crops preserved with the chemicals.
She said: "We got report that many people in Bekwarra LGA of Cross River State suffered from food poisoning due to ingestion of moi-moi and beans. A total of 112 people were hospitalised and the death of two children were recorded.
"The moi-moi and beans from the homes of the victims and from open markets in Taraba and Benue states were collected for laboratory analysis. The laboratory report revealed outrageously high levels of organophostate, carbamates, fenithrothion and chloropyrifos that are highly toxic pesticides.
"Again, we got another report that over 120 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Doma, Gombe were rushed to Gombe Specialist Hospital after consuming a meal of beans suspected to have been preserved with poisonous chemicals.
"Samples were again taken to our laboratory and it was discovered that the foodstuffs contained outrageously high levels of lindane, an organochlorinated pesticide commonly called gammallin that affects the nervous system, producing a range of symptoms from nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness to seizure, convulsion and death," she said.
As results of these incidents, NAFDAC said Nigerians should stop using agrochemicals that are not approved by the agency and should desist from the dangerous practice of using gammallin to harvest fish. It, however, confirmed that it had registered 301 pesticides for use by farmers, and grain merchants in the country.
Some of the banned pesticides are aldrin, binapacryl, captafol, chlordane, chlordimeform, DDT, dieldrin, dinoseb, ethylene dichloride, heptaclor and lindane.
Others are parathion, phosphamidon, monocroptophos, methamidophos, chlorobenzilate, toxaphene, endrin, merix endosulphan, delta HCH and ethylene oxide.