National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has been ordered by a Lagos State High Court to pay a fine of N2 million for approving the consumption of Sprite and Fanta, products of the Nigeria Bottling Company, NBC.
The court further trashed an application by NBC filed before the court seeking a stay of execution of the judgement where the company was asked to include on its label a warning to consumers against taking Sprite and Fanta with Vitamin C.
The presiding Judge, justice Adedayo Oyebanji, however, ordered conditional stay of execution of N2million cost awarded against NAFDAC.
NAFDAC was ordered to pay the money into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court pending the hearing and the determination of the appeal filed by NAFDAC.
Justice Oyebanji, in his ruling had observed that contrary to the argument of NBC that its business interest would be adversely affected if the order is not stayed.
He held that, “It is imperative to add the resultant effect of the order sought to be stayed is the preservation of human life, the business interest of Nigeria bottling company cannot in my respected view take precedence over public health.
“It is beyond argument that if the application for stay is granted and human health is consequently adversely affected; it is most unlikely that there can indeed be a return to status quo.
“The importance of public health is clearly demonstrated and underscored by the constitutional provision in section 45 thereof.
“For the reasons herein adumbrated, it seems to me it manifests that Nigeria Bottling Company has failed to disclose any special circumstances which would warrant the grant of this application.
“Accordingly, Nigeria Bottling Company’s application for stay of execution fails and it is hereby dismissed.”
The judge’s ruling was sequel to an application filed by a Lagos lawyer T.A. Busari SAN on behalf of NBC, praying the court to stay the execution of the judgment of the court.
Back in February 15 2017, Justice Adedayo Oyebanji had ordered NAFDAC to forthwith mandate Nigeria Bottling Company PLC to include on all bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks manufactured by the company cannot be taken with Vitamin C.