House of Representatives
By Onwuka Nzeshi
The House of Representatives Tuesrday mandated its committees on Health and Commerce to conduct an investigation into the importation, distribution and sale of various brands of caffeinated energy drinks in Nigeria.
The resolve to conduct the investigation came on the heels of a motion regarding the perceived health implications of the consumption of these energy drinks.
Chairman, House Committee on Treaties and Agreements, Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu, who sponsored the motion said that several brands of energy drinks such as Red Bull, Power Horse, Vault, Red Alert and Burn had become a common feature at social functions in bars, dance clubs and campuses across the country.
Bush-Alebiosu observed that these energy drinks contain high level of caffeine and other substances that could pose health risks to consumers.
According to him, there are indications that consumption of these drinks could result in kidney damages, high blood pressure and strokes.
“It is worrisome that heart diseases caused by the consumption of these energy drinks especially among young people is alarming and is threatening the health condition of the younger generation. We are further worried that these drinks are being mixed with other alcoholic drinks which makes them more deadly,” the lawmaker said.
He disclosed that a research conducted at the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adeliade Hospital and Adeliade University in Southern Australia has revealed shocking similarities between the cardiovascular profiles of heart patients and students who drink Red Bull.
The studies, he said, have revealed that the consumption of energy drinks causes the heart to stop functioning at intervals and excess consumption of it could lead to blood clotting which could result in fatality.
According to Bush-Alebiosu, it is because of the health risk of these energy drinks that the governments of Denmark, Norway, Germany and France have placed an outright ban on the sale of these products in their countries.
He argued that with the ban of these energy drinks in several European countries, Africa and particularly Nigeria has become a dumping ground for these products considering her large population of young adults and teenagers who are unaware of the dangerous effects of these energy drinks.
The lawmaker argued that if the trend was not checked, Nigeria may soon begin to experience an unusual rise in mortality rate amongst her population of young people traceable to caffeine+induced health disorders. The motion was unanimously adopted and the prayer to have the matter investigated was granted without further debates.