By GODWIN DUNIA
Most Nigerians have raised concerns over the unrestrained production and indiscriminate use of Sniper pesticide for the control of house pests, such as mosquitoes, cockroaches. Sniper products usually come in different sizes and has become an object of cheap choice for suicidal Nigerians in recent times, prompting calls to ban the product outright for its effect on respiratory organs and social consequences which have become a menace.
Sniper insecticide is a synthetic organo-phosphorus which belongs to the DDVP chemical family (2, 2-dicholorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound); it is indiscriminately being used by many Nigerians as an indoor insecticide, which is not its original purpose. And despite the fact that some of the bottles have instructions on how it should be used, most Nigerians still ignore it.
Also, manufacturers of Sniper products usually issue strong warnings to users, which are boldly written on the containers, that they should avoid inhalation of these chemicals or its contact with food, the skin or mouth.
This is because of the health challenges the chemicals can pose when we are exposed to them. However, users of Sniper have not only ignored the instructions, most users have abused the usage. Most of the chemicals they mix up in making the Snipers have been banned by NAFDAC. This among others has informed most calls that the product should be ban.
Speaking to Business Hallmark on this line, a professional pest control, who resides in Egbeda, Mr. Alison James, said, “I support a total ban on the product, going by the fact that it has now become suicidal material.
Sniper and ‘Go 90’ belong to the family of insecticides DDVP. This had been banned by NAFDAC some times ago. But I don’t know how it is available for use again. We in this profession arer very careful because, if we use them against instructions, we would be the first victim”.
On why it was initially banned, he said, “DDVP is a very toxic chemical which reacts very easily with the lungs and kidney just by inhaling them, which is a major cause of cancer. Worst of it, the chemical is designed to be diluted with water before application.
“Most of people apply it without reading its instructions. It is either to be diluted with kerosene. It should never be used without reading the instruction. There are other organic chemicals but they don’t react so fast with human organs as much as DDVP, which is a family name and there are lots of brands out there that belong to that family.
We need to learn to pay attention to instruction on such product as Snipers before use. Though, some of the Sniper products have no DDVP inside, they are popular because it is affordable as well.
“But since most household use it for indoor pest control on daily basis, government should legislate against the product on how to use it and if that cannot work, I support banning the product to avoid using them as suicidal by Nigerians”.
But, a Pharmacist in Ebute Metta, Bassy Akpan, is of the view that, it is not only Snipers that can be used to commit suicide. People can still get killed by other things cheaper than Snipers. There should be more public awareness that would guide against committing suicide, he told Business Hallmark.
“Snipers are safe product, hundred percent safe, just make sure you stay outside for at least 1hour 30mins after spraying it. Also get a sprayer for better results; it costs less than N500.00. There are steps in using them, open all your windows, mix Sniper with kerosene for better results, wear your original nose mask and spray every part of the room/house including your curtains with all windows still open then you can close the doors and stay outside for between 1.30minutes”.
“To me, I don’t support ban. Many are engaged in manufacturing of the snipers and they earn living from it.
Instead of calling for the ban, government should create job for the teeming youths”.
Akpan also dispelled the impression that because the product is cheap it has become something some few Nigerians turned to take their lives because of depression. “There are thousands and one commodities you can get even without buying that you can take to commit suicide. If they want to ban snipers, what about other harmful drugs?
Look I am a pharmacist, psychologically, how many Nigerians are ok today? Depression is all over and is affecting everybody. That is even why some of these snipers are fake. People want to survive at all cost. The government must monitor and create employment. If there is money and you are comfortable, would you go and buy snipers to fumigate your room against mosquitoes and cockroaches? These are question that should be put across to government and not calling for ban”.
Another pharmacist, Donald Olowolewa, also told Business Hallmark: “Banning of snipers cannot be the solution. The only solution is for the government to bring down the price of all the Bagon, Kill-it, Mobil etc to a considerable affordable prices, then they can ban it, otherwise, it would be wrong, because the product has become so popular because it is affordable. Personally, I always use it. It is a pity that some few Nigerians have resorted to using it as choice killer, not that they don’t know its applicability, but it is depression. People are tired, some of us are only living by the Grace of God”.
Olowolewa, therefore urged people to adhere to the instructions. “Sniper insecticide is very popular in Nigeria.
It has been known as the most effective method of driving away insects including mosquitoes, cockroaches and more. However, on the bottle, it is clearly written that it is meant for outdoor use and should be mixed with water to reduce the concentration.
A Medical Student, in LASUTH, who spoke to Business Hallmark said, “It is a pity that some youths, I think I learnt of failed medical student who committed suicide via the product. It is quite pathetic, but talking about banning the product in our society wont solve any issue.
“I am aware that people use the product as the primary purpose in homes against mosquitoes and very cheap and accessible, we should not ignore the danger it poses to their health. Since I learnt of how young people had die by using them as suicide, I have stopped using it”.
She also said DDVP is part of snipers and other insecticides containing that are sold everywhere. It is only may be, there is over concentration of it in snipers.
There are many health threats of using or being exposed to it. Sniper and other similar products that contain DDVP are poisonous and may damage vital organs such as the lungs and kidney and may cause cancer.
But to a man who hawk some snipers products at the Ojodu bus stop, he was not bothered about the effect of the products.
Responding to question on whether he knows the effects Snipers product is causing in the society, he told Business Hallmark, “there is nothing that is safe. Even Panadol can be misused and it would become harmful.
This is our own source of livelihood, pls don’t raise issue about them. We sell them as ant-mosquito and not for suicide”.
However, like many other numerous chemicals, the Sniper is very harmful, especially when in contact with human digestive system. But because of depression and other life challenges, most youths have gone the way of using the Sniper insecticide to end their lives. A recent case is that of a 400-level student of the
Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), identified as Chukwuemeka Akachi who, on Monday, allegedly committed suicide, using the Sniper.