Nigerians have decried the recent ban on the sale of Sniper, and other agricultural formulations in open market; following increased cases of suicide and misuse of the products.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, yesterday, that the ban might not help in reducing incidences of suicide, but that it would affect the daily bread of some people who depend on the sale of the insecticide.
According to them, the ban will not tackle suicide as there are other ways to end one’s life. They also expressed the belief that it would also not solve the underlying mental health conditions that led to the use of poisonous or other means for people to take their lives.
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had on July 11, announced the ban on sale of the pesticide and other agricultural formulations or dichlovorous which is from the class of the Organophosphate chemicals that were poisoning in nature and dangerous to human health.
Chairman, Ikorodu branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bayo Akinlade, told NAN that the regulatory organisation has a very lax system of control of the regulation of food and drugs in the country.
Akinlade said due to the poor control of food and drugs by NAFDAC, the ban on Sniper would not be effectively enforced, rather it would thrive in the black market.
“The problem with NAFDAC is that they have no control; there are some drugs that are on prescription only, but they are being sold over the counter. NAFDAC has never done its job well; it just gets some sort of confirmation from these pharmaceutical companies, give them a NAFDAC number and everybody has to take care of themselves.
“I have a case at the moment and I went to do some researches; I discovered that NAFDAC does not do any control.
“Each drug has a prescription pamphlet on how it should be sold or distributed, NAFDAC does not follow through on that as well. NAFDAC can ban Sniper as they want, people will still get a hold of it; they just made it much more expensive to purchase,’’ he said.
A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Tomi Imarah, said the ban is not going to be effective in Nigeria, if done in isolation.
Also, Mr Jiti Ogunye, lawyer and rights activist, described the ban on Sniper as a “spontaneous reaction. When in a country there is usually a spontaneous reaction to issues that require very deep thinking, introspection and reflection for us to know exactly what we need to do, we will continually get things wrong. Now that Sniper has been banned by NAFDAC, if an individual is driven to commit suicide, won’t that person look for other means to commit suicide? What will the ban on Sniper now achieve? NAFDAC at a time, banned importation of Codeine because of drug abuse. When Codeine was banned, what of Hemp and other alternatives?”