Nigeria: Government urged to legislate halal consumer rights

By Shakirah Adunola – The Guardian (Nigeria)

The Halal Certification Authority (HCA) has urged the Federal Government to emulate developed countries who provide their Muslim citizens with products that are good for them in accordance with Islamic religious rules. HCA noted that halal is not just a spiritual way of life but rather, it has become part of global economic mainstream.

Halal is arabic for permisible commodities. Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the holy Quran.

Speaking during the halal awareness seminar organized by Halal Compliance and Food Safety (HaCFoS) in collaboration with Halal Certification Authority (HCA), the Associate Professor, International Islamic University Malaysia, and the Executive Consultant of Halal Compliance and Food Safety (HaCFoS), Lukman Zakariyah, said halal certification is a guarantee of security for Muslim consumer to be able to choose food that are good for them.

He said: “Food products that have halal certification are products that the processing met standards in safety and cleanliness”He advised Muslims to be cautious of their intake and endeavor to look for HCA certification logo on products before consumption.

“NAFDAC, SON, HCA should come together and make sure that manufactures who violate the halal standard do not go unpunished because they have breeched the country rules and regulations and also deceived the Muslims. so they have to face the consequence of the law.”

He urged the government to guarantee the well being of citizens because Muslims have additional requirements as their religion compels intake of halal foods only.

Zakariyah added that halal awareness as continued to grow in the country, therefore the demand for halal products would increase and thereby aiding rapid economic growth.

“They should emulate the way United Kingdom and United State are trying to satisfy their countrymen by providing them with what they want according to the constitution. “I think the government can also give Muslims which are more than 50 per cent of Nigeria population their right by legislating Muslim consumer rights and compelling manufacturers to ensure their products are compliant”.

The Auditor, Halal Certification Authority and Senior Quality Control officer University of Lagos, Dr. Abdul Ganiy Adeloopo, said HCA is the first halal certifying board in Nigeria, which is borne out of the need to strengthen the emerging halal industry in Nigeria and across Africa with best practices.He said the authourity also works to strengthen its unique operations beyond the limit of other halal industry players around the world.

According to him, the primary objective of the corporation was to provide a comprehensive halal services to organizations and companies through efficient application of professional skills and knowledge.

The organization’s key activities comprise halal awareness, professional training, standard and compliance, product/ingredients analysis and certification, products branding, packaging and marketing. Others are trade development, halal supply chain, investment and global participation.

Adeloopo urged manufacturers to embrace halal certification evaluation because it conveys the value of product to consumers, and also boost sales of products.

“HCA have a very friendly procedure for the process of halal certification, manufacturers must first get certification from statutory organization in the country. We have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with NAFDAC, SON because this is an international issue; it is not restricted to Nigeria.

“Once you go through the procedure then your product become certify halal then you have HCA certify logo on your product after which we will pay your company uninformed visit to be rest assured that you comply with our rules and regulation because this is a religious affair and it must be taken serious.”