The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday disclosed that it intercepted 120 tons of poisonous animal hides and skin popularly known as ponmo with seven merchants of the harmful product in Lagos.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye cautioned the general public, most especially consumers of ponmo, against the activities of some unscrupulous businessmen and traders who sell industrial and chemical-laden animal hides as food.
Prof Adeyeye, in a communique by the Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, said the Agency’s Investigation and Enforcement officials gathered intelligence around certain locations where the products were being stored and sold.
The Agency stated that the interception was in response to several complaints received from the public pertaining to reported sale and distribution of imported hides and skin meant for use in leather industries, and which had already been processed with industrial chemicals. These products are then sold out to the public as consumables.
She said: “Monitoring was also extended to some buyers who patronize the sellers and custodians of the warehouse. Preliminary investigation revealed that some of the hides and skin were imported illegally and sometimes diverted to some merchants of death who re-process them and further sell them as consumable ponmo to the public.”
In light of these discoveries, she noted that the Agency recently conducted investigative patrols upon some identified locations in Lagos State where traders were found gathered for purchase of leftovers from the warehouses.
She said that large quantities of the products were intercepted at six different locations, emphasizing that seven suspects who were ascertained to be involved in the acts are presently being investigated.
“The street value of the product currently intercepted is estimated to be around N25.330m.
“NAFDAC wishes to advise consumers and retailers of Ponmo not to patronize importers of hides and skins for consumable animal skins.
“The general public is hereby encouraged to be very vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing animal hides, ponmo, and indeed other food items. NAFDAC is fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness, and quality of processed foods offered for sale to the public,” she added.