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NAFDAC Assures Of Efforts Against Use Of Hazardous Pesticides

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Joel Ajayi

Amid concerns about the influx of toxic pesticides into Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has assured citizens of its zero tolerance for using unwholesome chemicals.

The assurance is coming on the heels of an investigation conducted by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and published by the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), which revealed that some hazardous pesticides banned in Europe are being used in Nigeria despite attempts by NAFDAC to clamp down on the importation of harmful chemicals into the country.

NAFDAC’s Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omakpariola, gave the promise during an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Omakpariola, the agency makes painstaking and rigorous efforts to ensure hazardous chemicals or pesticides don’t get into the Nigerian agricultural space, stressing that “NAFDAC does not register banned pesticides.”

Speaking on modalities and processes pesticides are subjected to before being certified for use, Omakpariola said: ”NAFDAC as an agency is an international agency. We use best international practices in all our operations.

“MDAs, the British Food and Drug Authority, the Indian Food and Drug Authority and many others train our officers. Coming to pesticide registration issues, we have our processes for registering pesticides. Whatever pesticide wishes to be registered, we first have to ensure it is not hazardous.

“Before a pesticide is registered, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture must come in, and they must do what is referred to as a field trial in conjunction with research institutions, and after they are done, we commence the registration process. If the pesticides are produced here in Nigeria, we carry out inspections, we review all their documents, analyze submitted samples in our laboratories – that’s what we do,” Omakpariola explained.

He, however, faulted the European Union (EU) for slamming ban on some pesticides, noting that most of the actions by Western countries are based on economic reasons.

On his part, the Programme Coordinator of the Sustainable Nigeria Programme, Heinrich Boll Foundation, Donald Ikenna Ofoegbu, called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to rise to the occasion in the fight against the influx of harmful pesticides in the country.

Ofoegbu urged the Ministry of Agriculture to sensitize farmers on the risk associated with using pesticides while pointing out that “despite a lot of budget allocation going in favour of conventional pesticides, there is the issue of standard, a lot of adulteration, no tracking, no monitoring of qualities of chemicals that come into the country.

“NAFDAC is trying their best regarding registration regulation, NESREA is doing their best in the environmental side, but the middle where the chemicals are being used is a big problem. It’s a big Lacuna, so the Ministry of Agriculture needs to wake up and see how they bridge the gap on how pesticides are used in farms.

He warned that the use of harmful pesticides in the country exposes the citizens to serious health dangers besides the economic loss, noting that a long list of Nigerian cash crops is being rejected globally due to their high pesticide residues.

“Our common beans, Which is highly exported, are rejected. We have sesame, cocoa, cassava; there is a long list of them, even yam – all because of pesticide residue,” Ofoegbu stated.

Towing the same line, Engr. Prof. Simon Irtwange urged NAFDAC to work with related agencies to better regulate the use of pesticides in the country, warning that Nigerians are at risk of getting sick more frequently if they continue consuming foods with high pesticide residues.

He noted that there’s no law in Nigeria at the moment regulating the use of pesticides, adding that it is also abnormal that NAFDAC, as the agency that regulates agro-based pesticides, does not have a single agronomist in their ranks.

“I expect NAFDAC to work together with every other person and agency in that space and see how we (Nigeria) can regulate pesticides for the health of our people,” Irtwange.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

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180 Golfers To Compete For N35 Million In Rowland Adewumi Golf Classic Tourney

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The lush greens of the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja will soon be the battleground for an impressive array of golfing talent, as 180 golfers, both professional and amateur, compete for over N35 million in cash prizes and additional rewards.

This exciting event, known as the Rowland Adewumi Classic Tournament, is scheduled to take place from Thursday, June 13 to Saturday, June 15, 2024, in celebration of Rowland Adewumi’s 50th birthday.

The organizing committee, led by Chairman Akabom Enebong, has spared no effort in ensuring that the event will befit the legacy of the man it honors says the tournament is more than a mere competition; it is a homage to Rowland Adewumi, a figure whose influence on the sport in Nigeria has been profound. Known for his dedication to nurturing talent and promoting the game, Adewumi’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the golfing community.

Speaking to the media in Abuja, Enebong highlighted the meticulous preparations underway to guarantee a flawless event.

“This tournament is a tribute to Rowland Adewumi, whose influence has been pivotal in the development of golf in Nigeria,” Enebong remarked. “We have ensured that all arrangements are in place to guarantee a smooth and competitive event.”

The competition will feature approximately 80 professional golfers and 100 amateur golfers, all competing in a stroke play format over the club’s renowned 18-hole course. The tournament promises to be action-packed, with participants eager to showcase their skills and vie for top honors.

“The Rowland Adewumi Classic Tournament offers not just substantial cash prizes but also significant prestige. With over N35 million up for grabs, the stakes are high, and the competition is expected to be fierce. In addition to the cash rewards, there are numerous consolation prizes, ensuring that many participants will leave with recognition for their efforts”

“Interest in the event has been substantial, with top golfers from across the nation preparing to participate. This level of engagement underscores the tournament’s importance within the Nigerian golfing calendar and highlights the respect and admiration held for Adewumi within the golfing community”.

Enebong emphasized the broader significance of the tournament, noting that it serves as a platform for golfers to demonstrate their prowess and advance their careers. “Participants will leverage this tournament to showcase their worth,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for both emerging and established golfers to gain recognition and further their careers.”

The three-day event promises not just competitive golf but also a celebratory atmosphere, reflecting the joyous occasion of Adewumi’s 50th birthday. Spectators can expect a festive environment, with various activities and hospitality offerings enhancing the overall experience.

As the date approaches, anticipation builds for what is set to be one of the most memorable golf events of the year. The Rowland Adewumi Classic Tournament is poised to highlight the vibrant golfing talent in Nigeria, celebrate a beloved figure in the sport, and provide a thrilling spectacle for all involved.

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