By Azoma Chikwe
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently uncovered fake and unregistered products valued at about N200 million.
Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos, Acting Director –General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni said
officers of the agency had through a whistle blower discovered a building at Omotosho Crescent, Off Ewedana Street, Toll gate, Ota in Ogun State where production of bitters with fake
NAFDAC registration numbers was done.
The building, she said, was a brick wall fenced bungalow of five bedroom apartment, with two residential rooms, while the other three, the parlour and the kitchen were used for production of unregistered, deceptive and counterfeit products, including, Merry Jedi Plus, Bitter Cleanser and Rock Well Herbal Bitter.
The NAFDAC boss, who gave the name of the owner as one Mr. Innocent
Merry Iloabuchi, explained that the products were produced in a dirty environment by unqualified personnel and under poor Good Practice (GMP).
According to her, empty plastic bottlers, caps, cartons and sticker labels of another product, stone cream liqueur were also found in the facility, while the address on the labels of all the products were fake.
Oni, who was represented at the briefing by the Director of Investigation and Enforcement, Kingsley Ejiofor, said the agency also raided Ogbaru Relief market in Onitsha, Anambra State, where they discovered several shops used for the production, distribution, sale and storage of fake and counterfeit alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks of some popular brands valued at over N200 million.
“These drinks,” she noted, “were produced by manual mixing in plastic buckets and filled into bottles under unhygienic conditions within the market premises, some of which include popular brands like Moet, Chandon wine, St. Remmy Brandy, 501 Brandy, Pure Heaven sparkling drinks and Jalone Cognac wine.
“ Six suspects,” the DG said, “were arrested and interrogated during the raid, while investigation is ongoing as the consumption of these counterfeit drinks, may lead to liver cirrhosis, Kidney failures and cancers.”
Other products, which were intercepted at Tincan Island Port, Lagos
through another whistle blower, she said, include a donated consignment of 95 cartons of expired Gloves and 595 crates of expired smart wellness drink. a consignment of Sulphuric acid in front of an uncompleted residential building at Agbara, fake pharmaceutical products ranging from analgesics, anti-inflammatory, Opioid-like, anti-diarrhea, anti-pyretic and anti-tussive pruducts.
According to her, “ it is pertinent to note that foreign juices are on the Federal Government Import Prohibition list. The Public is hereby advised that expired or banned items should not be brought
into the country, whether as donated items or otherwise.. We have noticed
that Faith-based and Charitable Organisations are victims of unscrupulous foreign donors. Nigeria is not a dumping ground for expired, about to expire or banned products”, she noted. Oni further reiterated NADFAC’s commitment to ensure that only safe medicine and wholesome food of the right quality are sold to all consumers.
She, however, solicited the support of health practitioners, community leaders, religious leaders and all stakeholders for the continuous education of the public to desist from patronising quacks and hawkers of medicines on the streets.