MAN is by default selfish and as such, he does not reserve a second thought on the consequences of his actions in terms of the effects on his neighbours. By nature, man is wired to care only for himself and family; he cares less about his fellow beings; as long as he is satisfied, a check on others is needless. At times, man goes to the extent of making others uncomfortable to make himself comfortable. Once he’s fine, he is uninterested in any other person who isn’t fine. Some, as if their conscience is dead, have made harmful practices their jobs and way of life. These people with dead conscience make fortunes from harming people with their actions. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently warned Nigerians on the dangers of consuming frozen foods as some unscrupulous people preserve them with formalin, a chemical substance meant for embalming dead human bodies. Frozen fish, chicken and turkey are the most common food items preserved with this poisonous chemical by fish and meat sellers. Formalin, when consumed is capable of causing severe damage to body organs. NAFDAC also revealed at another time that some ‘Kilishi’ (dry meat) sellers use Sniper, a poisonous chemical, to preserve and keep flies away from the meat. Barbaric!
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, also uncovered how some marketers use kerosene or fuel tankers to convey vegetable oils to the market. In her words, “We have noticed that some tankers that are used to carry kerosene or petroleum products, they will just wash it a little and convey vegetable oil inside. It is very dangerous because definitely, such vegetable oil will be contaminated. Innocent people will go and buy these vegetable oils and in the end, they will contract diseases. When you see such, kindly report to NAFDAC so we can do something about it.” She also advised Nigerians to be wary of red palm oil as some traders now add a dangerous chemical, called Azo dye to make it reddish, inviting and appealing. This artificial food coloring chemical may be cancerous and is capable of adversely affecting vital organs of the body, whether in high or low doses. How on earth would a man do this to his fellow compatriot without fear?
Sometime last year, I read in the news that some food vendors and chefs add paracetamol tablets to meats when boiling in order to shorten the time it will take for the meats to be cooked. Large doses of paracetamolin the body can damage the liver. In fact, a research revealed that some people commit suicide with paracetamol as they take large doses of it. If large doses taken can kill within a short period of time, imagine the sharp effect an incalculable quantity of paracetamol cooked with meat would have on the body. It was also reported at a time that some farmers and beans sellers use sniper insecticide to treat and preserve rawbeans from pest invasion. Sometime ago, it was brought to the notice of meat consumers that some butchers drive flies away from raw meat displayed for sale by applying formalin on it. At another time, Nigerians were warned by NAFDAC to be wary of carbide ripened fruits which can cause cancer to the body.
The uncontrolled urge by many today to amass wealth stems from laziness and impatience. These people can go any length to become wealthy overnight without paying their dues or going through the proper channel. This set of people with the get-rich-quickly mind set are the ones who go into rituals having to sacrifice human lives or even vital organs of their body just to make money. Pitiably and unfortunately, many who indulge in these deadly practices are aware of the dangers such actions pose to the body, yet they care less because they make huge profits from killing people indirectly and silently. Insensitive and wicked actions, in our society today, have become normal with many regarding such as proper. They claim that since many people or majority of the populace do same, it is ideal and okay. It is this same notion that saboteurs have in mind as they destroy or steal what is meant to better their lives. For those who are involved in theft and vandalism of public properties, their actions are prompted by the impression that many do the same so they see nothing bad or improper about it. That everyone around you follows a wrong path does not make it right or mandatory for you to do same. Be guided by your conscience always and strive to be faithful to it.
The other day, in Delta State, we read in the news that a pregnant lady in labour reportedly fell off delivery bed in the hospital and died afterwards. The news story had it that, nurses on duty slept off, leaving the laboring lady unattended to. The pregnant lady’s caregiver was said to have gone home to pick some delivery items. The caregiver only returned to see the lifeless body of the pregnant lady on the floor while the nurses were sleeping. Height of duty negligence and wickedness! Where did we get it wrong individually and as a nation? What’s wrong? What’s missing? How do we retrace our steps? Who’s responsible for where we are in comparison to where we ought to be? We should constantly be reminded by the food for thought provided in William Shakespeare’s play where Cassius says, “The fault…is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” We are inarguably our own problems;our problems receive automatic solutions if we change our ways. We hurt ourselves in our own doings. Remember, Karma is real and true, if you do evil, evil awaits you; if it’s good, then you get good in turn.
In attempting to circumvent the right, dignifying and honorable path to achieve success, most people become desperate and would jump at anything they are propelled to do in the society, whether good or bad. Greed sets in, the propensity to harm their fellow man rises as they can go any length and would stop at nothing to get rich quickly. Regular thoughts on the consequences and impacts of their actions begin to fade away; they suppress and kill their conscience slowly. Before you take that action, please give it a second thought. If you are in doubt on whether that action would impact the society positively or negatively, seek a second opinion, please!
- Ojewale is of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA