By EMMANUEL ELEBEKE
Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii has called on the Federal government to declare a state of emergency on the sale and importation of fake and unwholesome foods, saying that the adoption of stiffer punishment will deter those indulging in the act.
Orhii made the call in Lagos while inaugurating a Community Development Associations, CDA at the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC ,orientation camp, Iyana Ipaja.
He explained that the current law which stipulates 15 years jail term or option of N500, 000 for drug fakers and traffickers was grossly inadequate, considering what is obtainable in China and India, where death sentence has been attached to such laws.
The DG maintained that unless Nigeria enacts such severe measures, the menace would continue unabated.
Regretting the development, he said: “Fake drugs have become a source of frustration to doctors and nurses in Nigeria. We need to declare a state of emergency on fake and unwholesome food and drugs to reduce the incidence. Nigeria lose about N75 billion annually to this illegal businesses because our people are poor, illiterate and unaware of the dangers of fake drugs.
“That is why fakers take advantage of their ignorance to perpetrate their illegal business. We must change our approach and improve on these laws if we must make progress in this fight.”
Soliciting support of the corp members, Orhii advocated for increase in local production of drugs to satisfy local demands. “We want you to help us advocate in our grassroots and communities on how to dictate fake and expired drugs.
We want to partner with you to create awareness. In doing this, Nigeria has to be self sufficient in production of essential medicine because we can’t keep seizing, burning and impounding drugs when the local production is inadequate.” he added.