By Jon Egie

 

Rt. Hon Itobore Felix, Leader of Ughelli North LGC Legislative Arm

A Public hearing has been held on a draft bill for improvement of health condition of citizens of Ughelli North local government area.

The Public hearing which held on Wednesday, Sept 18; was presided over by the Leader of the Ughelli Legislative Arm, Rt Hon Itobore Felix at the legislative chambers.

The bill titled: “Ughelli North Primary Health Care Bye-law 2019 seeks to enact a law to regulate the activities of stakeholders involved in manufacture, production, processing, packaging, storing, sales and dispensing of food, water, drugs and other related matters in the local government area in order to safeguard the health of citizens and prevent avoidable outbreak of deadly diseases resulting from consumption of polluted water, poisoned food, substandard, expired and fake products.

The Bill which originates from the Executive arm of the council will be enforced as soon as assent is given by the Executive Chairman of the council, Hon Godwin Adode aka Coach Tete.

When passed, the Bye-law would require pure water producers and dealers, Bakers, fast food operators, restaurant owners, supermarket, cold rooms, food hawkers and others whose business is related to products consume by members of the public to obtain a License of regulated premises from the local government council after due certification by the health department of the council, which personnel shall ensure inspection of premises where food are manufactured, produced or process; to conform with the Public Health Law of Delta state, so that consumers are not exposed to health hazards.

According to the draft, rates for procuring an operation permit (License) and its yearly renewal are as follows: Bakers (N20k:N10k), Pure water (N15K : N10k), Fast food (N20k:N15K), Restaurant (N5k:N3k), Supermarkets(N15k:10k), Food vendors (N2k:N1k).

The draft provides that any person who contravenes the law when in force shall be sanctioned by payment of suitably stipulated fines.

The Bye-law will also check and certify the medical fitness of persons running or operating food production and processing, sales and vending (mama put) to ensure that they are not vectors of communicable and other deadly diseases. Council officials shall regularly carry out inspection to ascertain level of compliance with the existing Health and Safety standards, and update on fake and substandard products.

Concerned stakeholders from the affected business areas attended the Public hearing during which, a participant, a food scientist, informed that he has observed that Sniper, a poisonous liquid for killing insects and Calcium Monoxide, a chemical, are used to preserve beans by traders in Ughelli market thereby exposing consumers of beans to very serious health danger and hence, gave support to the bill for enactment into law.

He revealed that sales representatives of various manufactured products collude with producers of fake products and mix them up for sale to unsuspecting members of the public who would not be able to differentiate original from fake because they all bear NAFDAC numbers.