BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR,
Dr. Vincent Isegbe, Coordinating Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service [NAQS], has warned dealers in beans to desist from using Sniper to store the produce as the chemical is too toxic for human consumption, saying that sniper in beans is a weapon of mass destruction.
A statement on Sunday by the Head of Media Unit of NAQS, Dr. Chigozie Nwodo, lamented that it was very alarming that a notoriously lethal substance has become a pesticide of choice for storage of beans in Nigeria.
According to Isegbe,“The substance in question is an organophosphate called DDVP (2, 2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate) which is dangerous to health, if misapplied as a pesticide.
“It is capable of causing death if inhaled or ingested in sufficient quantities. This is because the compound can bind to the lung or kidney and may become carcinogenic.
“Sniper ought not to come in contact with any edible material that would eventually be ingested by human beings. Sniper in beans is a material equivalent of death in pot.
“Nigerians eat a lot of beans. It is a very popular staple food item in this part of the world. So it may not be an exaggeration to say that sniper in beans is a weapon of mass destruction.’’
He urged bean dealers to put respect for human life ahead of hunger for gain. He advised them to withdraw beans already preserved with sniper from the market and utterly destroy them.
Dr. Isegbe bemoaned the fact that the sniper beans issue arose at a time when NAQS is close to achieving the lifting of European Union ban on Nigerian beans and should not undermine government efforts because this is capable of sending the wrong signals to our agro-commodities trading partners in the international market.