Government

NAFDAC shuts ponmo factories in Lagos over ‘offensive stench’

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed three factories importing and selling hides, also known as ponmo, in Lagos.

The three factories are located on Unity Avenue, Ijagemo; Sosanya Street, Ijegun; and Adedayo Ayodeji Street, WAZOBIA Bus Stop, Abaranje, all in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The closure came after residents of Adedayo Ayodeji Street protested the stench from the hide processing, which they described was unbearable.

The Deputy Director, Intelligence Unit, NAFDAC, Mr Francis Ononiwu, on Tuesday said one Isaac Nwaebo was, however, arrested because he removed the agency’s seal on his premises.

Ononiwu stated that, “When we first called at Nwaebo’s factory last week, there was a large quantity of hides; it appeared as if he just had his delivery. We decided to lock up the place and placed our seal on the door. When we came to check the place on Tuesday, the hides had all been removed. He has to explain how and why the hides disappeared from the place we locked up.

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“There are so many imported hide factories in Lagos. The hides are preserved with the same chemical used for embalming corpses. They are not safe for human consumption. We have been fighting them and we will get to them anywhere they are.”

Some residents of Unity Avenue, Ijagemo, alleged that water from their boreholes was no longer safe for drinking due to underground pollution as a result of the activities the factory.

In a letter to the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, dated May 17, 2019, titiled ‘Re: Imported hide factory operating on Unity Avenue, Ijagemo’, alleged that the product from the factory was poisonous to human health.

The letter read in part, “For your information, each time they are discharging the hides from the trucks, the whole community smells like a mortuary.

“They burn and wash the hides in the environment; therefore, the air we breathe in is poisoned, while the wastewater from the washed hide sinks into the aquifer to pollute our boreholes.”

It was gathered that activities in the factory had been suspended.

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