The Nigerian government has placed a ban on the manufacturing of small bottles of ‘Sniper’, an agro-chemical that has increasingly become a choice killer for persons contemplating suicide.
The Punch Newspaper reported that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control said the ban became necessary because of the recent wave of suicide cases across the country has been linked to the intake of Sniper.
This is coming days after the agency said it may direct a change in the packaging of sniper as part of plans to discourage the use of agro-chemical as a tool for suicide.
Many Nigerians have been calling on the government to check the proliferation of, and ease to access to, sniper because of its wrong use.
Sniper can be picked up easily on the streets as they are sold openly in the market.
“We have also placed a ban on the manufacture of smaller packs of Sniper which are easily purchased for household use,” Husman Bukar, the Director, Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products Directorate, NAFDAC was quoted as saying in the report.
“Recently, some suicide cases have been associated with people drinking Sniper. Henceforth, we call on the agro-chemical industry to enhance their distribution channels so that this product (Sniper) gets to only accredited distributors and marketers.”
Sniper is a DDVP, 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound, marketed in Nigeria by Swiss-Nigerian Chemical Company, as a synthetic organophosphorus. Many Nigerians have, however, converted it to an indoor insecticide.
Sniper is predominantly used as an insecticide because of its effectiveness in killing insects better than well-established brands.
The demand is also fuelled by its affordability. A 100ml of sniper goes for between N200 and N300 while its competitors cost as much as N750 for 100ml.
It is not immediately clear if the company has officially been informed of the directive. A NAFDAC spokesperson, Abubakar Jimoh did not answer call nor respond to text messages seeking clarification.