NO LESS than 150 residents of Gashua, Yobe State, die of kidney disease yearly, The ICIR has learnt.
Anwali Ahmad, Head of Chemical Pathology Unit, Specialist Hospital, Gashau, told The ICIR on Friday that many residents die of chronic kidney failures because they preserve the foods they eat with chemicals.
He also said many farmers in the town use banned herbicides on their crops.
In Gashua, people do year-round farming through the support of the Komadugu River.
Ahmad was born in Gashua and has worked in the environs for ten years.
His department tests kidneys and identifies people with kidney failure or disease.
Umar Abubakar, Chief Imam of Bade Emirate, under which Gashua falls, had told The ICIR reporter that kidney disease killed at least 120 people yearly in the town.
The reporter sought clarification from Ahmad, an expert who could speak authoritatively on the matter.
While the Chief Imam blamed the morbidities and deaths on the high level of dehydration, Ahmad said the people used local chemicals to preserve the foods they ate, which resulted in the disease and accompanying deaths.
He also said they sold some of the foods to people outside the community.
The ICIR reports that among the people who could eat such foods are students and staff of the federal university located in the town.
Ahmed noted that after applying chemicals to preserve foods, people could only eat such foods after six months when the chemicals’ potency would have reduced.
“Every month, we diagnose around 20 to 30 new cases (of kidney disease). Sometimes, it could reach up to 50. It depends on the number of people that come to the hospital.
“As it stands now, every year, we have more than 150 (who die) in Gashua and environs,” Ahmad said.
He said the State Specialist Hospital in Damaturu offered free dialysis, but there was no dialysis for treating the condition in Gashua.
According to him, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who is from the town, was planning to establish a dialysis centre in the community.
Ahmad stated that all age categories are affected by the disease, from 11 years and above.
He said joint research by the Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, in the state, and the State Specialist Hospital showed that the foods eaten by the Gashua people are contaminated with preservatives.
The pathologist said indigenes of Gashua produce some of the chemicals used to preserve the foods, adding that many residents had suffered permanent kidney failures after eating food preserved with the chemicals.
“Just about five months ago, the local government raided some locations where the locals produced the chemicals,” he said.
“Patients prefer to stay at home and use local medication, which often leads to permanent damage of their kidneys after a short time,” he added.
In August 2020, The ICIR reported how food vendors, fruit sellers and farmers poison Nigerians with agrochemicals.