By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
A Federal High Court siting in Asaba, Delta State, on Friday sentenced a young graduate, Mr. Osita Paul Ely, to five years in jail for being in possession of fake malarial drugs.
The young man, a graduate of economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was arrested in 2015 in Asaba by officials of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) who stormed his residence following a tipoff.
Osita was then charged to court on a seven-count charge relating to possession, packaging, importation, labeling and distribution of fake anti-malaria drugs and other unregistered products.
However, the accused subsequently pleaded guilty to Count One, upon which the presiding judge, Justice A.O. Faji, struck out other charges.
Count One said that the respondent was found to be in possession of “fake drugs to wit: Rysovin-500, Buscomac – 10mg, Maloxine, Lumartem, Lofnac – 100”, which is punishable under the law.
The prosecution noted that the “offence runs contrary to Section 1 of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act CAP. C34 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 3(a) of the same act.”
Nevertheless, the judge duly sentenced the convict to five years imprisonment, which is the minimum custodian sentence for such offence, in line with Section 3 of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. CAP C34 LFN 2004.a
The judge held that the fake drugs, which lacked the major anti-malaria and anti-bacteria components, had serious detrimental effects on persons as well as serious environmental impacts on the society, wondering how many innocent Nigerians could have victims of the action of Osita had he not been apprehended.
While delivering his judgement, Justice Faji observed, “A graduate of economics should be looking at ways of growing our economy and not increasing the population of people at the hospitals, mortuaries and cemetery. This is an abuse of the privilege of education.”