From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said recent rise in insecurity in Nigeria could be traced to absence of its officials at different ports in Nigeria since 2011.
NAFDAC said its officials were ordered out of the ports by Federal Ministry of Finance in 2011, which paved the way for easy entry of hard drugs and other substances that were used for purposes other than what it were meant for.
NAFADC Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement, yesterday, by the Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, said during the period that NAFDAC officials were absent from the ports (2011 to 2018), many drugs and consumables easily gain entry into Nigeria without strict checks.
She said: “Undoubtedly, the challenge of internal security within the country could be traced to uncontrolled influx and use of psychotropic medicines like tramadol and chemicals that were diverted for terrorist activities.
“NAFDAC’s absence at the ports since 2011 was highlighted as one of the factors, and, as such, there was a dire need to return the agency to the ports in 2018 as part of the efforts at strengthening regulation and control at the ports shortly after I resumed office as director general.
“I immediately directed that all NAFDAC processes that affect trade must be automated and readily available to stakeholders. This is evident in the online processing of approvals, certificates, permits, and authorisations issued by NAFDAC,” she said.
We fast tracked our activities on National Single Window for Trade which made NAFDAC electronic licenses to be processed on the portal.”
Meanwhile, the NAFDAC boss, at a recent meeting with stakeholders in the export and import trade activities at the nation’s ports warned that the agency would no longer tolerate any unprofessional act from any of its stakeholders, be it importers or clearing agents.
She said the era of fraudulent activities at ports was over, thus urging the stakeholders to embrace innovations by NAFDAC that was designed to strengthen its operations and services.
She, however, advised importers to desist from entrusting the entire process of clearance of their consignments to the agents, stressing that whenever the agents run into trouble with the regulatory authorities, they cut corners, thereby, leaving the importer confused at the end of a botched transaction due to inability to meet the requirements of the agency.
“I ask that you comply with the fast-changing updates currently ongoing in NAFDAC. These include the current issuance of electronic NAFDAC invoices, receipts, first endorsement notices and release notices.
“We are working towards assisting stakeholders achieve regulatory compliance by ensuring requirements are made transparent and accessible to stakeholders through the availability of regulations, guidelines, tariff, and process requirements on the NAFDAC website.
“I have also ensured we maintain transparency and continue the implementation of the Quality Management Systems (QMS) in our port processes. And this has led to a review and update of existing Standards Operating Procedures (SOP) and implementation of strategic QMS activities for ISO 9001-2015 certification, and entrenchment of WHO global benchmarking (ISO 9004) across all the airports, seaports, and land borders.”