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Adulterated palm oil floods Nigerian market
Dipo Laleye, Minna - Updated: Tuesday 21-07-2009
The adulterated oilDo you consume red oil ? If yes, then this piece is a must read for you, because what you have been taking as red oil may after all not be red oil but unknown chemical.
The police in Minna, Niger State, have discovered that in an attempt to maximise profit, some traders in the palm oil business in the country now adulterate the commodity with a chemical substance which they get from a factory in Aba, Abia state.
The powdery substance, Crime and Security learnt, can be mixed with water to form a liquid substance that will look like palm oil for any unsuspecting consumer to buy.
When this chemical is mixed with original palm oil, according to investigations, it also increased the reddishness of the oil and in the long run, creates the impression that it is better in quality than any of the oil in the market.
As a result, the adulterated oil, according to the investigation, is always sold at a higher price than the original oil.
This illegal act was very common among members of the Association of Red Oil sellers, who are more at the Gwari market, the second largest market in the Niger State capital.
Acting on a tip off, men of the monitoring unit of the police recently swooped on the Gwari market where this illegal activity was taking place and in the process, 10 of the traders were arrested. Others, including the chairman of their association, however,escaped.
Among those arrested were the deputy chairman of the red oil sellers association, Mr. Jude Okafor, two women, Julian Ochor and Amarachi Okoro.
Others included Christopher Josiah, Adolphus Ajuo, Agbo Tochukwu, James Ejiafoh, Paul Ogochukwu, Reuben Onyeiben and Joseph Ugwu.
The state police commissioner, Mr. Mike Zuokumour, who paraded the suspects before newsmen in Minna last week, said they had all made valuable confessional statements to the police handling the investigation.
Mr. Zuokumour said the exhibits and the suspects would be sent to the National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) which has the capacity to determine the type of chemical they were using to adulterate the original red oil.
Mr. Jude Okafor, deputy chairman of the red oil sellers association, said he had warned his members to desist from adulterating their products, but they ignored his advice.
Asked if the chemical being used for the adulteration was good for human consumption, Mr Okafor said: “I don’t know because I am not a doctor.”He, however, said that the chemical was being produced in a factory in Aba, but declined to give the address.
He said the traders had to adulterate the red oil to make it more red, but when asked if there was any white oil that would require such an action, Mr Okafor said “there is agric oil.”
The police said they believed that the increase in kidney and liver related cases in the country might not be unconnected with the consumption of the adulterated red oil by many families in the country.
In the meantime, the police commissioner said that a gang of Fulani robbers who specialised in waylaying luxury buses and other motorists on the highway, had been arrested.
Mr. Zuokumour said before the arrest of the robbers, a luxury bus had been attacked with three people, the conductors and drivers bus, had been shot dead by the robbers, before his men arrive to foil the attack on the commuters.
He said two single barrel guns, one four barrelled locally made pistol, three dane guns cut to size, and five cartridges with one expended as well as charms were recovered from the robbers.