By Akin Akande, Abuja
Market may soon be over for manufacturers and suppliers of energy drinks in Nigeria as the House of Representatives on Thursday in a move to ban the importation of energy drinks in the country mandated its Committee on Health and Commerce to conduct an investigation into the importation, distribution, sales and health implication of all brands of caffeinated energy drinks in Nigeria.
The decision followed the adoption, without debate, a motion brought by Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu who raised the alarm on the consumption of the products.
The consumption of the drinks, he noted, “if not checked, can lead to Nigeria experiencing a high mortality rate and other caffeine-induced health disorders.
He noted that energy drinks concoctions of caffeine, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, herbs and other substances are now found all over on campuses, in bars, dance clubs and social functions across the nation.
Bush-Alebiosu however warned that “several brands of energy drinks such as red bull, power horse, vault, red alert, burn among others contain high levels of ingredients and stimulants that pose dangerous health risks such as kidney damages, seizures and strokes, even life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart and brain function.”
His words: “Research conducted at the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adeliade Hospital and Adeliade University in Southern Australia revealed shocking similarities between the Cardiovascular profiles of heart patients and students who drink Red Bull.
“Other studies have revealed that the consumption of energy drink causes the heart to stop functioning at intervals and that the consumption of a 250ml can of energy drink can lead to blood clothing, which is highly fatal,” he said.
Making further submissions on the motion, Bush-Alebiosu said these drinks are being mixed with alcoholic drinks such as vodka, Hennessy among others and become more deadly as they tend to mask the level of intoxication already settled in the bodies of the consumers of this mixture, thereby allowing young adults to consume much more alcohol than normal which often times lead to young people passing out after such in-take and also an increase in road accidents involving such people.
As a result of the health risks caused by the consumption of these drinks including reported cases of deaths, according to the lawmaker, “the governments of Denmark, Germany, Norway and France amongst others have placed outright ban on the sale of these energy drinks in their jurisdictions.”
He expressed worry that with the ban in several European countries, Africa particularly Nigeria because of her large population of young adults and teenagers who are unaware of the dangers of the effect of these energy drinks has become a dumping ground, considering the numbers of cans sold daily in Nigeria.