By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA —THE House of Representatives, apparently disturbed by the widely reported harmful effects of carbonated drinks, yesterday, moved that soft drinks produced by Nigeria Bottling Company, NBC, and others should be investigated.
To this end, an adhoc committee would be set up by the House leadership to investigate NBC and other soft drinks produced and marketed in Nigeria.
Also, the lawmakers resolved that the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC should review composition of all carbonated drinks in Nigeria to ascertain their chemical components.
This was however sequel to a motion entitled:’Need To Protect Nigerians From The Harmful Effects of Fanta and Sprite Beverages Produced By Nigerian Bottling Company and promoted by Rep Rotimi Agunsoye.
In his submission, Agunsoye asserted that”recent publications on two or three products of the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd which could cause severe and or terminal harm on unsuspecting members of the public.
He explained that”Sprite and Fanta, which are products of the Coca-Cola Company are said to contain unhealthy concentrations of Benzoic Acid and Sunset Yellow additives which become poisonous when combined with Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C.
“The drinks which were produced in Nigeria were tested by the UK Health authorities,( Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council4 Trading Standard Department of Environment and Economy Directorate) and were discovered to be harmful for human consumption.
The lawmaker further stressed that what was worrisome was the fact that “the company’s response when it was revealed was that they never intended for the drinks to be taken outside the country, which in other words, means they were produced for consumption in Nigeria only.
At this point, the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara asked members to debate the motion.
In his contribution, Rep Emma Oghene Egoh, PDP, Lagos said”the government is silent because nothing has been mentioned from their side as we do know they can fly their relatives to abroad for treatment so they don’t care.
Julius Fakeye, APC, Osun told his colleagues that” for many years I headed an agro allied desk in the bank for many years and I do know that Coca-Cola is a global brand and if for any reason they are no longer selling a global brand then it calls for concern.
Aminu Shehu Shagari, APC, Sokoto called for caution among his colleagues because the 6th House had carried out such an investigative hearing in the past only to discover that it was false.
He explained that”Ajinomoto a respectable firm was accused in the 6th House that its products were injurious to health after we visited the parent company and an indepth investigation it was discovered that the information was false.
The Leader of the House, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Surulere Fed Constituency, Lagos in his view told the House that the promoter of the motion did not include the fact that it was based on a court judgment.
He said”NBC did not deny at the court rather it claimed that the products were not meant for export,they were meant for Nigerians only.
“I remember in the 7th House how an investigation was carried out to investigate the content of Red Bull energy drink I can’t remember what eventually but the truth is that we should look out for the security and welfare of our people.