Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said it destroyed counterfeit drugs and vaccines, cosmetics, and expired food items worth over N2 billion in Kano State and Awka in Anambra State.
It said the destruction exercise carried by its officials took place in Kano and Awka.
According to the agency, its operatives had combed the nooks and crannies of three geo-political zones of the federation, namely, North-west, South-east and South-south to mop up expired drugs and unwholesome food products with a view to safeguarding the health of the Nigerian people.
In a statement issued yesterday by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, the agency said that while counterfeit drugs and spurious food products worth over N1.4billion seized from both the South-east and South-South zones were destroyed in Awka, last Thursday, similar dangerous drugs, and unwholesome food items worth N613 million were destroyed at the Kalebawa dumpsite along Kazaure-Daura road, Dambatta, Kano.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director of Investigation and Enforcement in the Agency, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, during the exercise, said the destruction was part of the efforts to rid the Nigerian market of unwholesome products and engender public confidence.
She warned that henceforth, “there will be no hiding place for the merchants of death, who derive joy in the unpatriotic act of circulating expired and falsified drugs and food products that are inimical to public health across the country”.
Adeyeye listed the products to include substandard, fake, falsely labelled medicines, unwholesome processed food products and cosmetics seized from manufacturers, distributors, and importers.
He disclosed that the expired drugs were also handed over voluntarily by companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, trade unions, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicines Dealers (NAPPMED).
She explained that other products destroyed were those confiscated by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He added that the drugs include unregistered drugs, improperly stored vaccines, tramadol, Rohypinol intercepted on Benin-Asaba expressway and other fake medicinal products intercepted at different times.
‘’The estimated value of the products destroyed in Kano is N613,300,290.00 while fake products worth N1, 429,580,683.00 were destroyed in Awka, Anambra State, totalling N2,042,880,973.00’’, she said.
According to her, the products include drugs such as antibiotics, antihypertensive, antimalarial, herbal remedies, psychoactive, controlled substance.
‘’Food products such as spaghetti, vegetable oil, non-alcoholic beverages, sachet water, chocolates, Noodles, etc. were also destroyed as well as cosmetics such as creams, pomade, and insecticides,’’ she added.
Adeyeye said the destruction of the dangerous products would eliminate the risk of their reintroduction into the market, noting that drug counterfeit is an act of economic sabotage and pose serious threat to public health.
Adeyeye said that the products being destroyed could have had a devastating effect on the populace if not removed from the circulation.
She commended the officers of the agency for their untiring efforts in safeguarding the heath of Nigerians and enjoined them not to relent in ensuring that counterfeiters are brought to book.
She further disclosed that a warehouse of banned, controlled, fake and counterfeit products, worth millions of naira, had been discovered in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra.
The NAFDAC boss said that the items were awaiting destruction, pending the setting aside of a Court Order.
The NAFDAC DG said apart from seizures and destructions, the agency had been able to secure conviction of culprits, ranging from one year to five years and options of fine.
The statement said the formal setting ablaze of the heap in Kano was jointly performed by the representatives of the DG and the governor as well as the Commissioner for Environment and the commandant, NDLEA.