By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja
A startling revelation has been made by the House of Representatives during the hearing of a motion presented on the floor of the house by Hon. Rotimi over the fact that Coca-Cola has been producing very unwholesome and dangerous drinks which are lower in standard compared to their productions in other countries around the world.
This revelation was said to have been exposed when an exporter was alleged to have attempted to export Nigerian produced Coca-Cola product to another country which unknown to him failed to meet the standard requirements for beverage drinks in that particular country.
According to the member the exporter was then informed by Nigerian Bottling Company makers of coke in Nigeria that the chemical composition of coke produced in Nigeria is different from the ones produced elsewhere. This response has drawn several reactions and criticism over the fact that Nigerians are exposed to certain chemical contents and addictive which analysts have claimed might be responsible for the high rate of cancer related illnesses amongst Nigerians.
House Leader Hon. Gbajabiamila sought for a thorough investigation into these claims as he condemned such acts of producing a different beverage composition for Nigerians as against what is obtained elsewhere in the world. According to him, “the National Assembly must suspend the production and distribution of all Coca-Cola products across the country until we ascertain the actual chemical composition of all Coca-Cola products through a proper investigation”. He also added that, “following this allegations, Coca-Cola did not deny or dispel the claims but insisted that exporter did not inform them that the product was meant for export, this issue is about the security and welfare of Nigerians as the issue of quality control shouldn’t be compromised by an international company as Coca-Cola. He stated that if at the end of this investigation and the company is found guilty it must be treated as a clear case of manslaughter.
The controversial chemical composition in the Coca-Cola beverage is said to be benzene and caffeine. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil and gasoline, as well as cigarette smoke. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells.
Research revealed that the concentration of benzene in other parts of the world when producing the coke beverage is below 150mg while in Nigeria it is between 250mg and sometimes even higher. Another research as elucidated by Hon. Rotimi the proponent of the motion revealed that the caffeine element is removed from the beverage when being produced for consumers outside Nigeria, while in Nigeria the addictive is retained to increase the level of addiction amongst its consumers here and invariably drive increase in demand.
The members appeared unanimous in their decision to get to the bottom of this heart-rending development of how Nigerians are daily being exposed to a product that increases the risk of cancer in the body. Nigerians were therefore advised to restrain themselves from the product until the true state of the product is ascertained by the relevant authorities such as NAFDAC are able to determine if it remains safe to continue consuming Coca-Cola and it products. A high powered committee will also be set up by the House leadership to spearhead the investigations.