CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Kukah, CAPPA decry deaths from diabetes, obesity linked to SSBs

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has decried the rise in deaths associated with the consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) in the country.

Speaking when officials of the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) visited The Kukah Centre (TKC) for faith and leadership research in Abuja, the bishop called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace, which is associated with the astronomical rise in diabetes and obesity among Nigerians in recent years

Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, explained that the visit was aimed at reaching out to opinion moulders to sensitise citizens on the dangers associated with the consumption of SSBs and influence the decision by the authorities on public health.

Kukah, who acknowledged his addiction to Coca-Cola, noted that Nigerians over-indulge in the consumption of SSBs, which are injurious to their wellbeing.

Said he: “These are things that we are doing due to ignorance. So, whatever needs to be done, needs to be done. It is a campaign that all of us need to sign on to. The government is not a family; government is everybody. Apart from those at leadership positions, we have to make our own personal efforts too.

“Everybody should listen to what is being said that are dangerous and injurious to our health. For those of us who have got used to taking these beverages, it is going to be a difficult decision; but it is a life-and-death decision to make. So, whatever needs to be done to help our people, all of us need to sign on to it.”

On the clamour for increase in taxation on SSBs, he said emphasis should be placed on awareness campaign than to impose it on consumers.

The cleric added: “The more taxes are imposed on the products, the more likely that people might pull back. Again, you have to find a way to close the window because you begin to get fake Coca-Cola and Fanta. So, the drive is one thing, the ban is another.

“I think, in the final analysis, people do more when they are convinced as opposed to those other measures. Yes, I think it is a commendable thing if taxes are used for better things. But of what benefit would the taxes be, if we are not alive? That is why I am saying the biggest challenge is for us to encourage ourselves now that we are aware of the dangers.”

I am not afraid to admit that I am guilty because my friends have warned me severally of the dangers of taking Coca-Cola. Now I am more committed than more than ever.”

Oluwafemi noted: “In the last exercise, attempts were made to increase the taxation to N20 per litre, and there was a lot of outcries. People didn’t have the understanding that this is a tax to save lives, that on their own, they need to reduce their consumption of sugar.

“There is a linkage between SSBs and ailments like obesity and diabetes, which are on the increase and are killing people now in Nigeria. It is the right time for Nigeria to do all they can to curtail the trend.”

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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