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Court Fines NAFDAC For Approving Toxic Sprite, Fanta


For failing to perform its stat­utory obligations to Nigeri­ans on the dangerous chem­ical contents of Fanta and Sprite, a Lagos High Court has ordered the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to pay a fine of N2 mil­lion.

The court also dismissed an ap­plication filed by the Nigerian Bot­tling Company (NBC) Plc, makers of Fanta and Sprite to stay execu­tion of its earlier judgement on the matter.
The trial judge, Justice, Ade­dayo Oyebanji, said that NAFDAC did not take appropriate measures before approving such dangerous soft drinks like Fanta and Sprite which is glaringly poisonous to health when taken with Vitamin C.
He therefore ordered the agen­cy to pay the money into an interest yielding account in the name of the court’s Chief Registrar, pending the hearing and the determination of the appeal filed by NAFDAC.
Justice Oyebanji had observed that contrary to the argument of NBC that its business interest would be adversely affected if the order is not stayed, it is important to consider the preservation of hu­man life, adding that “the business interest of Nigeria Bottling Com­pany cannot, in my respected view take precedent over public health.
“It is beyond argument that if the application for stay is granted and human health is consequent­ly adversely affected; it is most un­likely that there can indeed be a re­turn to status quo. It is imperative to add the effect of the order sought to be stayed is the preservation of human life, the business interest of NBC cannot in my respected view take precedent over public health.
“The importance of public health is clearly demonstrated and underscored by the constitutional provision in Section 45 thereof. For the reasons herein adumbrated, it seems to me it’s manifest that Nige­ria Bottling Company has failed to disclose any special circumstances which would warrant the grant of this application.
“Accordingly, Nigeria Bottling Company’s application for stay of execution fails and it is hereby dis­missed,” Justice Oyebanji held.
The ruling was sequel to an ap­plication filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, T.A. Busari (SAN) on behalf of NBC, urging the court to stay the execution of its judgement.
The lawyer premised it on the ground that, the order made by the court would adversely affect the op­eration of the company.
In a related development, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) filed an ap­plication for stay of execution of the judgement of the court on behalf NAFDAC.
He contended that NAFDAC had appealed against the judge­ment at the Court of Appeal and the appeal raises jurisdictional is­sues which affect the competence of the suit and the validity of the judgement.
However, Barr. Abiodun Onidare, counsel to the claimants, Dr. Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo and his company, Fijabi Adebo Hold­ing, argued that the interest of the public was what mattered and not the business policy and reputation of the NBC.
Onidare argued that the ap­plication for stay must not stand because the defendant has failed to put before the court, materials which will necessitate the grant of same.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Adedayo Oyebanji on Feb­ruary 15, 2017, the court ordered NAFDAC to forthwith mandate NBC to include on all bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks man­ufactured by the company a writ­ten warning that the content of the said bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks cannot be taken with Vita­min C as same becomes poisonous if taken with Vitamin C.
The court also declared that NAFDAC has failed Nigerians by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption, products in which in the United Kingdom, failed sample test for human con­sumption and which becomes poi­sonous in the presence of Ascorbic Acid ordinarily known as Vitamin C, which can be freely taken by the unsuspecting public with the Fan­ta and Sprite

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