Health Minister Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole yesterday empanelled a group of food industry experts to unearth the facts about the court declared toxic Fanta and Sprite. He had this to say:
“Nigerians need to know that we will put their safety first. The questions are: Is the Coca-Cola produced in Nigeria safe? Is the acidity level acceptable? What is the difference between Coca-Cola products available in Nigeria and the United Kingdom?
“Nigerians are justifiably angry as it concerns the recent verdict of a case involving an exporter. I have instructed NAFDAC to liaise with SON to address Nigerians immediately concerning the safety of Coca-Cola products made locally.”
Will the probe amount to anything? Remember that the same health minister stopped by in Lagos last month at the height of the Queen's College mass food poisoning scandal. He held a meeting with the school principal, Dr Mrs Lami Amodu and that was the last heard from federal authorities on a blistering problem in a federal facility with close to 4,000 pupils entrusted to federal care by citizens. The Lagos state government had to rise up, shut the school and order an investigation.
Briefing media on the investigation report yesterday, Dr. Jide Idris, the state health commissioner, announced that 1,222 pupils fell ill in a 36-day period from January 11. Sixteen were hospitalised, three are still critical and two died. All this, while federal officers entrusted with the children's care were nonchalant and indeed derelict in their duty of public health safety.
The principal, the director of basic education, director of higher education, minister of education and minister of health should answer questions on the laxity in health and hygiene standards in a federal school that led to such an awful, tragic turn of events. Beyond that, the principal should be prosecuted for culpable negligence leading to double manslaughter. If you are a parent or a concerned citizen, stand up and write. Write to your representative or your senator and demand answers, it is your right. Write to the police and DSS to demand an open investigation and prosecution of those culpable.
It is your right. Write to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (firstname.lastname@example.org)</a> and the UN Human Rights High Commissioner (@UNHumanRights) and ask them to sanction the federal government of Nigeria for poorly treating its citizens. It is your right. Write.