By Bukie Okangbe
The dogged determination of the Ben Ayade administration to end quackery in medical, health and food sectors across the State received a boost following the timely intervention of the Health Ministry, under the able leadership of the supervising Commissioner, Dr Betta Edu, on illegal food production in Cross River.
This came to limelight when the Commissioner, with some health officials from the Ministry, under the Food Safety Taskforce, busted some illegal manufacturers while in the cause of producing fake food and drinks at their production site in the State.
Luck ran out of one Mr Bassey Gideon Attah, a resident of No.5 Akekong Lane, Off Douglas Bassey, State Housing Estate, owner of a substandard production firm, who, over the years, had been in the business of producing fake and unhygienic zobo for public consumption. Bassey was apprehended and his firm shut down by the State Ministry of Health.
Speaking during the raid, Dr Betta Edu frowned at the wickedness exhibited by some persons to their fellow citizens. “It is so unfortunate that people could be this wicked and mean to their fellow men. You can imagine the environment where the said zobo is being prepared for public consumption. The so-called fermented ginger, which he claims adds spice to the zobo drink, is always left open with flies perching on it. The containers are unwashed and, most times, picked up at dirty drainages and trashes”, she lamented. Stating further, she said, “tell me why there won’t be an outbreak of typhoid, dysentery, cholera and other waterborne diseases?
While assuring the public of the State Government’s commitment to ensuring safety in food and drink production, the Commissioner said that the Ben Ayade administration was poised at showing zero tolerance to quackery, and she promised that anyone caught in such an unwholesome practice would face the full wrath of law.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr David Ushie, on his part, called on Cross Riverians to keep tabs on what they eat and drink. He urged them to immediately call the attention of the authorities concerned, especially the Director of Public Health, Food Safety Department or the Police, so that legal actions could be taken against such a person(s).
Reacting, Mr Gideon Attah pleaded ignorance of certain standards in the production of zobo; as he promised not to embark on such an illegal activity again. He; however, pleaded for mercy from the State’s Ministry of Health and promised to get more knowledge on how he can run such a firm diligently.