Three ponmo factories have been sealed off by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for endangering lives by using chemicals for embalming corpses for preservation.
The factories, which specialise in importation of cow hides popularly known as “ponmo”, into the country are located on Unity Avenue at Ijagemo, Sosanya Street at Ijegun, and Adedayo Ayodeji Street, Wazobia Bus Stop at Abaranje, all in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
According to the Deputy Director, Intelligence Unit, NAFDAC, Mr Francis Ononiwu, one of the owners of the facilities, Isaac Nwaebo, was arrested after he tampered with the agency’s seal on his premises.
“When we first called at Nwaebo’s factory last week, there was a large quantity of hides. It appeared as if he just had his delivery. We decided to lock up the place and placed our seal on the door. When we came to check the place on Tuesday, the hides had all been removed. He has to explain how and why the hides disappeared from the place we locked up.
There are so many imported hide factories in Lagos. The hides are preserved with the same chemical used for embalming corpses. They are not safe for human consumption. We have been fighting them and we will get to them anywhere they are.”
Unbearable Stench:The hides imported into these factories were said to have an unbearable stench, because the chemicals for embalming dead bodies were used to preserve them.
The residents of Unity Avenue reportedly protested by writing a letter to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye. They stated that they were living in fear of an imminent outbreak of diseases, noting that whenever the factory was unloading the imported hides from trucks, the entire community would be enveloped in an offensive odour.
NAFDAC’s quest: This is another proof that NAFDAC is stringent regarding the use of harmful chemicals on food, as the agency also condemned the use of sniper by traders who used it to preserve beans, stock fish and other food items.
NAFDAC also shut down a honey factory last month for packaging honey under poor hygiene in Abuja.