The Vice Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, has faulted the clarification by the Federal Government that Fanta and Sprite beverages manufactured in Nigeria by the Nigeria Bottling Company were safe for consumption.
It will be recalled that a Lagos High Court ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control to compel the NBC to include a written warning that the drinks could not be consumed with Vitamin C.
The Federal Ministry of health had on March 18, 2017, declared that the products were healthy for consumers, having conducted a routine inspection in 2016, through the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, at NBC, which it said turned out satisfactory.
It had, however, directed the company and other bottling companies to include the advisory warning on their products to protect the health of Nigerians.
But the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, who spoke at a press briefing, said that the position of the government fell short of addressing the safety concerns raised by the court.
Prof. Izevbigie stated that the Federal Government was silent on the usage of the colourant, sunset yellow, which he said had no nutritional value and also belonged to a chemical class of azo dye, that could be toxic to different cells in the human body and create problems.
He explained, “Although azo dyes do not occur in nature, they are metabolizable due to the presence of azoreductase enzymes in the body, which reduce the azo group to produce two compounds with amino groups.
“Scientific literature shows that sunset yellow is implicated in cytotoxicity, carcinogenesis, allergies and hyperactivity in three to nine-year-old children.”
The professor of biology and biochemistry also said that benzoic acid, a microbial preservative contained in the drinks, were almost twice the amount used in neighbouring Ghana and could be converted to benzene, “a known compound that causes cancer”.
According to him, the essence of the advisory warning recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health was already defeated, since Fanta and Sprite contained Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic acid.
He said, “You are telling me not to take these products with Vitamin C but you already have Vitamin C in it. It seems to me that the purpose of the advisory warning is already defeated.”
He, therefore, urged NAFDAC to live up to its responsibility in scientific research and regulation, adding that the issue of human safety must override profit.
“There should be a reduction of benzoic acid or sodium benzoate concentration to below 150 milligrams per kilogramme, as recommended by the World Health Organisation and is obtainable in the UK that has a low temperature than Nigeria and Ghana which has the same climatic condition as Nigeria” he said.
“Vitamin C should be removed as an ingredient in Fanta due to concerns raised from benzene toxicity; the use of natural dye could be considered, for example, beta-carotene, as is done for the NBC product, 5 Alive Pulpy Orange.”
3rd International conference and scientific exhibition
THEME: “Translating Research into Development: The Role of Women in Science.
DATE: 31st JULY – 3rd AUGUST 2017.
VENUE: Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Edo State Nigeria
The Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University (BIU), Benin City, Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa, on Thursday commissioned a 1 Kilometer dual carriage road that is being constructed and donated by the Managing Director of Ray Royal Construction Company, Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Matthew Okpebholo, at the legacy campus of the University in Okha, Benin City.
Speaking at the flag off, Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa commended the philanthropic gesture demonstrated by Okpebholo, describing him as a humble and godly man whom the University will continue to hold in high esteem. The visitor to the University, expressed her delight at the spate of work at the permanent site of the University at Okha. She commended the University Management, staff and students for the developmental strides of the Institution and steadfastness on the part of staff for making the Church of God Mission Intl proud.
Cutting the ribbon, the Chancellor appealed to other well-meaning individuals to emulate the kind gesture of Rev. Okpebholo, while praying that Benson Idahosa University will continue to sour higher and live up to her expectations.
According to Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Matthew Okpebholo, who is a pastor at Church of God Mission International (CGMi), the road, which will cost him about N300 million, is expected to be completed in 2017 and maintained by him for 25 years.
The philanthropist, who had in the past donated building to the University of Benin, road to Samuel Adegboyega University, mentioned that generosity was a way of life for him because he wants to be remembered for his good deeds.
“No individual can do what we are seeing now if God is not involved as it is Government that builds road for citizen” he said.
Okpebholo, who said the road will be constructed with kerbs and walkways, disclosed that road construction in the country is expensive; hence the need for philanthropists to assist in such project is needed.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the President of Benson Idahosa University, Bishop F.E.B. Idahosa said that the flag off is the beginning of great things to happen this year.
“We are here to mark a legacy that started in 1978 and continue the vision of our founder who passed on 19years ago” he said.
“Resources will move to you when you begin to move towards your vision but if you sit still, your vision will sit still, as we moved towards this vision, God sent so many people to sow seed on this campus that is a reality today”
The Chairman of the Governing Council, Engineer Goddie Isibor, disclosed that the University had started moving to its permanent site with the completion of the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, recreational facilities, as well as the hostels. He noted that the Institution will commence; Nursing, Medical Laboratory Science, Energy Engineering, Computer Engineering, Architecture, as well as Sandwich programme for pastors.
Engr. Isibor thanked Bishop Matthew Okpebholo and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy Church for their contributions to the development of the Institution. He also used the occasion to thank the President of the Institution for keeping the vision alive, adding that there are more hurdles to be crossed.
After the official flag off, the Chancellor alongside Bishops from Church of God mission Intl were taken on a tour round the legacy campus by Management and the University project team.
Senior Pastor at the Rest Place Church of God Mission International, Rev. Tari Hudson Ekiyor, has urged Students to dream big but keep a narrow focus in other to attain greatness.
The Advocate for personal development made this known during a tweet conference with the Students of Benson Idahosa University on the topic “The future is here”.
Speaking to the Students, he said the opportunities available to this generation, clearly erases the best excuses they could ever come up with to justify failure.
According him, the best way to prepare for the future is to create it, adding that the future is here and we are not taken unawares.
“Today marks the beginning of the future but the future doesn’t end here” he said.
Personal development is personal responsibility and not the responsibility of any Institution.
He advised the Students to surround themselves with great people if they plan to be great.
“Be resourceful, having resources and being resourceful are different things and If you are resourceful, resources will come” he said.
He ended by charging the Students not to live to just make money but rather to create a legacy.
The United Nations Information Centre, Lagos has resolved plans to set up an Information Corner at the Department of International Studies and Diplomacy, Faculty of Arts and Education, Benson Idahosa University.
The Corner will enable Students of Benson Idahosa University and members from the South South geopolitical zone of Nigeria to gain quick access to current information on global issues and activities of the United Nations Organization.
The decision to establish the Corner was reached during an interactive session by students of the Department and the personnel of the United Nations Information Centre in Lagos.
During the session, the students complained about the difficulties they encounter while travelling to Lagos for the United Nations conferences, seminars, and study project.
In her response, the Librarian in charge of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos, Mrs. Bolande Olumekor, informed the students of the conditions the hosts would play if such a Corner were to be established at the Department.
The purpose of the United Nations Information Corner in Benson Idahosa University would be to communicate the work, values, priorities and initiatives of United Nations in Nigeria
At the end of the session, each student received a copy of United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos Brochure.