By Ugochukwu Chimeziri
Croplife Nigeria, an umbrella of registered pesticide, herbicides and fungicide importers
has blamed the uncontrollable influx of chemicals especially those that
have agricultural applications to the inability of National Agency for
Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) to adequately police the Nigeria’s chemical industry.
Speaking in his Lagos office last week in an exclusive interview, Dr. Ndarubu
Abdulahi, secretary general, Croplife Nigeria said that due to the high
level tricks adopted by unregistered importers of chemicals, it has been
very difficult for NAFDAC to get to the heels of defaulters in
effectively checkmating importation of banned and environmentally
aggressive chemicals which come in from various routes into the country.
The unregistered importers who are largely Indian and Lebanese controlled
organizations fly the said substances through various means all in the
attempt to beat security points both at the ports and at the borders,
According to him, these activities have been paying-off to the perpetrators but at the severe
expense of humans, animals and the environment.
“The ability of these importers to have bad products in the system has also
created room for existences of obsolete chemicals hoarded in various
locations in the country with them being released into the open market
secretly. Chemicals like lindane commonly called gammalin 20 has been
outlawed but you still see them in various packages in the market being
sold to unsuspecting farmers and other users,” he said.
Citing further examples, he said that copper sulphate has been banned globally
for all agricultural applications but the chemical is still heavily
used in Nigeria even with government also supporting the ban with some kind of enforcement.
Copper Sulphate has other applications in water treatment and textile
manufacturing. He said that some of these unknown importers go to NAFDAC
to obtain import permit for them to bulk-import for water treatment and
However, on arrival the bulk which comes in 100 kilogrammes per bag is broken and then repackage in
smaller quantities which could be accessible by farmers thereby selling
to farmers not actually to the water treatment industry.
“It is globally criminal for a chemical to be opened and repackaged outside
its original environment of manufacture. These chemicals do have
serious environmental implications and so indiscriminate working on them
by unscrupulous elements could introduce some unseen hazards which
could affect plants and humans. But this is what is going on now with
copper sulphate in Nigeria and nobody is talking,” he said.
Kenya has a law that prevents any foreigner or foreign controlled company residing in Kenya from importing any kind of chemicals. The government has very strict
laws regulating importation of chemicals in Kenya and one of the
conditions is that apart from the importer satisfying all necessary
registration procedures, such importer must be a Kenyan but the case is
otherwise in Nigeria where everybody is allowed to import whatever he or
she likes, Croplife Nigeria said.
Abdulahi wondered how effective the regulation of the industry would be when at the moment Nigeria does not have even a bill on regulation and other uses of chemicals in
the country. The crop scientist warned on the inherent dangers on Nigeria’s continued existence without adequate laws regulating the importation and usage of any chemical in the country.
In the meantime, NAFDAC and Croplife Nigeria have banned the importation and use of monocrofophos, lindane (Gammalin 20), copper sulphate and diazinone.
Nigerian Financial Standard Newspaper had in the past recent weeks reported an indiscriminate use of carbide to treat banana meant for human consumption in Ore in Ondo State.