The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Gombe zonal office has handed over 26 suspects arrested over production and sale of adulterated palm oil in Gombe to the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The suspects are Monday John, Yahaya Sanusi, Mohammed Abubakar, Nasiru Bappa, Bello Ahmed, Emeka Oppah, Theophilus Samuel, Auwalu Abubakar, Chindo Garba, Mohammed Umar, Dauda Mohammed and Anas Musa.
Others are Ejike Samuel, Umar Friday, Abbayo Musa, Hamisu Mohammed, Ali Garba, Inuwa Auwal, Tukur Adamu, Ahmad Usman, Emmanuel Etuk, Auwal Iliya, Peter Ndubuisi, Babangida Yerima, Giginna Alphonsus and Usman Musa
EFCC Head of Operations at Gombe zonal office Michael Wetkas, said they were picked up October 17 in Gombe market where they allegedly adulterated palm oil with unknown substance before selling same to unsuspecting members of the public as genuine.
He said following their arrests, 32 shops belonging to the suspects at the Gombe Main Market were also sealed up.
He said the premises of the 32 sealed shops were covered with sand to conceal the red substance which, he said, was evident on the floors and on the buildings, used to store them in drums.
“In the course of our discussion with NAFDAC, we were made to understand that most of these chemicals are carcinogenic, which means they will be killing the person that consumes them gradually,” he said.
Wetkas said they handed over the suspects to NAFDAC because the safety of food is strictly under its purview, to carry out laboratory test on the substance, and determine the level of harm it can cause in the human body.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the suspects, Theophilus Simon, said he got involved in mixing the substance with palm oil because the variety of palm oil they sold did not have the reddish colour that customers wanted.
Receiving the suspects, the NAFDAC official, Laras Jatau, said the development was quite worrisome because the agency has been carrying out sensitisation on the dangers of processing foodstuffs with harmful substances in order to make more profit.