By Olasunkanmi Akoni
THE Lagos State Government has expressed its worry over the alarming rate at which its citizens consume agbo and paraga, both local concoctions brewed with water or local gin popularly known as paraga.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who made this known in Lagos, weekend, while reviewing the activities of the Task Force on Fake, Counterfeit Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods noted that the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola was concerned that despite improvement in the health sector, the rate of consumption of local concoctions was on the increase in all nooks and crannies of the state.
He noted that the concoctions, which are usually soaked in local gin, negatively affects vital organs of the body especially the kidneys to the extent that death often becomes virtually inevitable due to toxic substances in the unprocessed materials and fermentation.
No fewer than 20 people died in Ajah Community last year after the consumption of agbo soaked in alcohol and also recently, eight people were arrested for producing and selling paraga on Lagos Island and their shops sealed by members of the Lagos State Task Force on Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods.
â€œThe arrest was made in connection with the recent spate of deaths of Lagosians alluded to the after effects of consuming local herbal concoctions brewed with water or the popular local gin called paraga,â€ he said.
Idris questioned the curative powers of the agbo concoction, stressing that the reported deaths of people ascribed to the concoction in and around Lagos motivated his ministryâ€™s investigation of various samples of local herbal concoctions brewed with water or local gin, adding that the result of the investigation showed that the local concoctions had no curative powers but rather showed the existence of harmful microbes in the local herbal brews.
Idris noted that state government has declared zero tolerance on the sale and consumption of Agbo in the state no matter the seemingly curative powers it is purportedly claimed to have in order to safeguard the health of its citizen.
His words: In order to save the lives of its citizens, the Lagos State Government will no longer fold its arms and watch its citizens ingest substances that are harmful to their state of health. Therefore the State Government has declared zero tolerance for any Agbo concoction no matter the seemingly curative powers it is purportedly claimed to haveâ€.
Idris while urging all residents of the state to take responsibility for their health, called on all to join hands with the state government in preserving and improving the health of Lagosians by avoiding the sale and consumption of these concoctions.