The Imo State House of Assembly may be embroiled in controversy following its threat to shut down bottled and sachet water factories it deemed to be substandard.

The Assembly’s Committee on Health had convened a meeting with the Association Of Table Water Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP) at the Assembly complex, where the ultimatum was issued.

“Majority of table water in the State have iron, that is why there is very high rise in kidney and liver infection and related diseases in Imo Stateā€¦.

“Since some of your water factories are not following laid down regulations, we will seal them to protect citizens” Sam Otuibe, House Committee Chairman On Health, had told ATWAP executives at the meeting.

Critics, such as Chief Chris Anozie, a seasoned water engineer, have vehemently opposed the Assembly’s stance, asserting that lawmakers lack the authority to enforce such closures.

Anozie emphasized that the legislative body’s role primarily entails oversight functions, not direct intervention in such matters.

“It is not their duty to close or shut down any water producing factory,” Anozie declared.

“They do not have enforcement powers and should not usurp the authority of other government agencies responsible for such regulatory responsibility.”he noted.

Anozie stressed that agencies like the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with relevant authorities overseeing water production and management, are mandated by law to assess and address non-compliance issues within the water producing industry in the State.

He further clarified that the House Committee on Health, as part of its oversight mandate, can express concerns regarding water quality and preparation processes as it has done lately, but cannot extend its authority to enforcement actions.

Mr. Geoffrey Iwenobi, a water analyst resident in Owerri, highlighted the existing regulatory bodies tasked with overseeing bottled and sachet water production, such as NAFDAC, SON, and the Consumers Protection Council.

He underscored the need for the State Assembly to collaborate with these established Bodies to address any suspected violations within the industry.

The role of the House of Assembly Is to facilitate communication with regulatory bodies in cases of misconduct among the Water and Satchet Water Producers”

“its scope of authority should not extend to direct punitive measures against water producers.” he said.


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