Fanta-Sprite ruling: Varsity faults FG’s safety claims

The Benson Idahosa University, Edo State, has faulted the clarification by the Federal Government that Fanta and Sprite beverages manufactured in Nigeria by the Nigeria Bottling Company were safe for consumption.

A Lagos High Court had ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control‎ to compel the NBC to include a written warning that the drinks could not be consumed with Vitamin C.

The Federal Ministry of health had on March 18, 2017, declared that the products were healthy for consumers, having conducted a routine inspection in 2016, through the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, at NBC, which it said turned out satisfactory.

It had, however, directed the company and other bottling companies to include the advisory warning on their products to protect the health of Nigerians.

‎But the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, who spoke at a press briefing in Benin, said that the position of the government fell short of addressing the safety concerns raised by the court.

Izevbigie stated that the Federal Government was silent on the usage of the colourant, sunset yellow, which he said had no nutritional value and also belonged to a chemical class of azo dye, that could be toxic to different cells in the human body and create problems.

He explained, “Although azo dyes do not occur in nature, they are metabolizable due to the presence of azoreductase enzymes in the body, which reduce the azo group to produce two compounds with amino groups.

“Scientific literature ‎shows that sunset yellow is implicated in cytotoxicity, carcinogenesis, allergies and hyperactivity in three to nine-year-old children.”

The professor of biology and biochemistry also said that benzoic acid, a microbial preservative contained in the drinks, were almost twice the amount used in neighbouring Ghana and could be converted to benzene, “a known compound that causes cancer”.

According to him, the essence of the advisory warning recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health was already defeated, since Fanta and Sprite contained Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic acid.

He said, “You are telling me not to take these products with Vitamin C but you already have Vitamin C in it. It seems to me that the purpose of the advisory warning is already defeated.‎”

He, therefore, urged NAFDAC to live up to its responsibility in scientific research and regulation, adding that the issue of human safety must override profit.

The vice-chancellor said, “There should be a reduction of benzoic acid or sodium benzoate concentration ‎to below 150 milligrams per kilogramme, as recommended by the World Health Organisation and is obtainable in the UK that has a low temperature than Nigeria and Ghana which has the same climatic condition as Nigeria.

“Vitamin C should be removed as an ingredient in Fanta due to concerns raised from benzene toxicity; the use of natural dye could be considered, for example, beta-carotene, as is done for the NBC product, 5 Alive Pulpy Orange.”

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Enugu Police raid ‘Malaysian Forest,’ shrine where kidnappers dumped CSO Ejiofor Enechi’s corpse, others

The Enugu State Police Command has discovered a shallow grave where the remains of the former Chief Security Officer for Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, Mr Ejiofor Enechi, were buried.

It can be recalled that Enechi was kidnapped by a syndicate in December, 2016.

Two top members of the kidnap gang, Chijioke Ozor alias earthquake and one Anselem Ngana were arrested in February 2017 after a fierce gun battle with members of the police anti- kidnapping unit in Enugu who trailed the suspects to their hideout in the forest – ‘Malaysian Forest where kidnappers dump dead bodies.

Enechi’s shallow grave was found on March 15, at the Aniocha Forest, Nimbo in the local government, following the arrest of the duo.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Superintendent Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the arrest of the two suspects and consequent discovery of Ejiofor’s remains in the forest to newsmen on Friday.

According to him, Ozor and Ngana were members of the banned Oda Nimbo Vigilante Group in the area who had been involved in the kidnap of over 20 persons along the Nsukka- Uzo-Uwani – Onitsha road, in recent times.

“They were among about 30 other members of the dreaded group who were being hunted by security agents following the kidnap and murder of Ejiofor, after his relations had paid N2 million ransom for his release.

“Ozor, who hails from Ugwunani village in Aku, Igboetiti Local Government Area of the state, led the police to the shallow grave in the forest where the remains were exhumed.

“Our detectives discovered the shallow grave and the shrine where the gangsters took their victims to at the Aniocha Forest which stretches to Eshi River in Kogi State.

“Apart from Ejiofor’s remains, they found several motorcycles of other victims who must have been killed by same members of the vigilante group.

“Each time they kidnapped their victims, they blamed the action on Fulani herdsmen but it is now clear that the allegations against the Fulani herdsmen were diversionary.

“The forest is popularly known as Malaysia or Ugbo Ekwuru behind the Ugwuijoro Village in Nimbo.

“Ngana is from Akpama Nimbo and he was one of those in charge of monitoring Ejifor’s movements for other members of Oda Nimbo Vigilante group.

”Earthquake (Ozor) was among those who took him to the bush where he was allegedly murdered instead of the shrine.

“Over 30 members of the killer gang are still on the run and we are on their hot chase,” the PPRO added.

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Ile-iIe crisis: Stop taking sides – OPC boss, Gani Adams warns Police

The leader of Oodu’a Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams has accused the Nigeria Police of taking sides in the recent violent clash that engulfed the ancient town of Ile-ife, between some indigenes of the town, and Hausa/Fulani settlers.

This was contained in a statement signed by Adams and made available to DAILY POST on Saturday, where he expressed worry over sectional approach the police had adopted in tackling the issue, which in his words remains “two fighting.”

He wondered why no single Hausa/Fulani extraction was among the 21 suspects arrested and paraded in Abuja by the police for their involvement in the crisis.

The OPC leader alleged that the pattern of arrest signalled a clear display of tribalism, which would be resisted by well meaning Yoruba leaders and Nigerians at large.

“It beats my imagination that a government that has been playing lip service to the lingering blood letting going on in Southern Kaduna, suddenly woke up from its slumber when the pendulum swings Westwards to begin an illegal arrest of Ife indigenes and leaving out the Hausa/Fulani who were deeply involved in the crisis untouched.

“The police recently paraded 21 suspects that were arrested in the aftermath of the crisis and to my chagrin, all of them were Yoruba. This leaves a question mark as to why no Hausa/Fulani was arrested, even as reports indicated that it was one of the Hausa/Fulani, residing in the Sabo area of the ancient city that sparked up the crisis. Infact, Yoruba recorded the first three casualties before the crisis went full scale.

” In the light of the foregoing, I join other Yoruba leaders and some prominent Nigerians to condemn the police for its one-sided parade of Ile-Ife residents over the recent clash between the Yoruba and Hausa communities in the ancient city. I make bold to say that the arrest, as being skewed by the police, is a display of huge tribalism

“On behalf of my organisations, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and the Oodua Progressive Union, (OPU), I hereby state our serious objection to a one-sided arrest in a clash between two ethnic groups. We detest, in strong terms the undue deployment of federal influence along fault lines on the Ile-Ife crisis.

“We also suspect foul play as well as favouritism that those who were arrested for an offence allegedly committed in Ife were being bundled up to Abuja for nothing but sheer intimidation. We know it is not right, by law, to charge anybody in Abuja for a crime allegedly committed in Ife.

“We believe that issues that are capable of conflagrating this country must be avoided with a passion. Parading some people and saying they are culprits has severe tribal linkages with dire consequences. We cannot afford that at this point in time.

“We are like sitting on some keg of gunpowder. Politically, the action taken so far is not wise. And I want to appeal to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) that parading one tribe is not sensible. The interpretation would go beyond the level we can control. The action is not palatable because Nigeria is a heterogeneous state.

It is not too late to correct the trend. This is very imperative as we are not going to fold our arms to see our land being overthrown from us.

We cannot play the role of second fiddle in this case of palpable altercation involving two ethnic groups,” the statement reads.

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Appeal court nullifies impeachment of former Ondo Deputy Governor

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital has nullified the impeachment of a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Ali Olanusi.

The court held that Honourable Olanusi’s impeachment in 2015 by the Ondo State House of Assembly was not done in accordance with the provisions of the law.

In his ruling, Justice Muhammed Danjuma, said Olanusi was wrongfully impeached, and that he was not accorded fair hearing before he was impeached by the State Assembly.

Justice Danjuma ordered the restoration of all the rights and benefits due to the former Deputy Governor from the time of his impeachment from office to the period his tenure ended.

Speaking to reporters on the ruling, Olanusi’s Counsel, Richard Alade, said the releases sought by his client from the lower court have been granted by the Appellate Court.

He commended the industry and effort put into the judgement which he said resulted in a sound idea.

Mr Alade described the judgment as a fantastic one and a victory for the Nigerian people and the constitutional system of the country.

“The Appellate Court has given judgment and the judgment is sound enough and it’s touching on all aspects of law that bother on constitutionality and means to uphold the tenets of justice and legality. This is what has been in place as the justice system must not be brutalised by the powers that be.

“By the grace of God, all the releases being sought by the appellant from the lower court have been granted. Anybody that has the reason to listen to that judgment will be appreciative of the industry and efforts put into it for it to become a sound idea. I will best refer to it as fantastic and a victory for the Nigerian people and the constitutional system of Nigeria,” he said.

The former Deputy Governor, on his part, thanked God and the judiciary, as well as the people of Ondo State who stood by him during the legal battle.

He noted that despite all the charges brought against him, there was no impeachable offence traceable to him.

“We have cause to thank God and we have to thank the judiciary too, judiciary is improving in Nigeria. In a civilised country, such a thing can never happen. They did not see any file where I committed an impeachable offence.

“At last, the truth has prevailed and I’m happy. I have to thank God, the judiciary and the people of Ondo State, they stood by me,” Olanusi said.

He defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress shortly before the 2015 general elections.

Consequently, Mr Olanusi was impeached as deputy to former Governor Olusegun Mimiko by the Ondo State House of Assembly on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

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Nigerian Army demotes officer Mathew Aroye

The General Court Martial, GCM, of the Nigerian Army on Friday passed a verdict demoting a captain, Mathew Aroye, to 2nd lieutenant after finding him guilty of gross indiscipline.

The President of the GCM, Olusegun Adeniyi, a brigadier general, gave the verdict during its sitting in Maiduguri.

Mr. Adeniyi said: “Captain Aroye, having found you guilty of the charge against you and having listened to the presentation of your service record and your touching plea in mitigation, this court hereby sentences you to a reduction in rank to 2nd lieutenant with four-year seniority on the rank.”

“The sentence is, however, subject to confirmation by the confirming authority as provided by Section 141 sub-section 2 and Section 152 sub- section 1A of the Armed Forces Act Cap 20 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Aroye, a combatant with the 118 Task Force Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Gubio, was said to have taken sides with some disgruntled soldiers by unruly announcing that he had quit the army in November 2015 after his unit suffered a huge setback in the fight against Boko Haram.

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Osinbajo announces FG plan to include Abia in Amnesty Programme

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has announced that the Federal Government will take urgent measures to include Abia in the amnesty programme designed for oil-producing areas.

Osinbajo made the promise on Friday in Umuahia during a town hall meeting with representatives of different groups from the oil-producing communities in the state, comprising traditional rulers, women and youth groups.

He said that the federal government and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs would work hand-in-hand with the state government to ensure that beneficiaries of the amnesty programme hailed from Asa, the oil-producing area of Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.

Osinbajo was reacting to the protest by the people of the area at the meeting that the state was not included in the programme.

On his part, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu said that “no single Abia indigene has benefited from the amnesty programme”.

Ikpeazu said that he was happy with the drama that played out at the hall and called for an inquiry on the purported list of 237 beneficiaries from the state as presented by Boroh.

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