By Uju Mbanusi
Seven traders were recently arrested at the Agege market in Lagos, for allegedly selling fake Orange Drugs Products to unsuspecting members of the public, using the company’s seal.
Information made available to Crime Alert revealed that the suspects were arrested following a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubabar that a group of person were selling counterfeit products of the brand, consequent upon which some of the products were traced to Agege market.
However the suspects were reportedly released on bail, with a promise to show up whenever they were needed, only for them to allegedly jump bail.
Rather than turning a new leaf the suspects allegedly continued in the illicit business. “The next thing was that the company started receiving series of calls from some unidentified persons; some claiming to be journalists, said that the traders were just being victimized.
Some of them even claimed that the police asked these traders to bring an undisclosed amount of money so that the case could be scrapped. This went on until the case was charged to court. That was why the police went after them again a couple of days ago and was able to arrest the trio of Sabinus Ikejube (48) Innocent Nwanedo (52)Mustapha Badamosi (35) out of the seven that were initially arrested”, a representative of the company told crime Alert at the Yaba magistrate court last Thursday.
Drugs manufactured in Germany and Benin Republic
However the traders told the court that some individuals based in Germany and Cotonou in Benin Republic, manufacture the products and import them into the country, admitting that they only bought from them in whole sale prices and sell to members of the public. They however could not mention names of the purported manufacturers.
Legal counsel to Orange Drugs limited,Chinonso Akponu said after a drastic drop in sales of the products was brought to the notice of the company’s management, investigation was carried out to ascertain its cause, during which it was discovered that some products were being packaged with the Orange Drugs seal and sold in the markets.
Some of the products included Delta soap, Tempovate cream and Neutrotone. “Currently, it has not been made known how these manufactures manage to smuggle the Orange Drug products into the country. What we noticed is that these products, are being packaged with the Orange Drug seal but written on the pack that it is manufactured in Germany.
Also some of our marketers have been helpful in supplying us with these information, because they are on ground at the market places. Aside this, we also have our task force personnel who visit market places based on information, to raid these traders. These task force personnel make sure that arrested traders are handed over to the police for prosecution at the end of the day”.
Harmful components used in manufacturing some of these fake products:
Continuing, Akpoku decried the effect of the fake product on unsuspecting users , stating for instance that fake Tempovate products contain component believed to be very harsh to the human skin.
Following this discovery, the company has embarked on moves to inform the public about the existence of these fake products through the use of bill board advertisements and distributing fliers at rallies. We also educate them on the dangers of using these counterfeit products.
“The company has been given the sole right to the ‘Orange Drugs seal’ in Africa, this registration was recently concluded. With this move, we will be able to monitor these infiltration, not just here in Nigeria but in other African countries. I believe that in no time, with the help of the police and full corporation from our loyal marketers, this challenge will be curtailed”, Chinonso stated.
Inspite of these moves, Crime Alert findings show that some of these counterfeit products are still being sold in the markets.
Said a director in the company, Dr. Ugochukwu Ezenna: “For a product to be faked, it simply means that product is doing well in the market. Otherwise those who engage in counterfeiting our brand will not be doing so in the first place. Be it as it may, these activities is affecting our reputation.
You cannot compare the substance used in manufacturing these fake products to the quality we use in manufacturing the genuine products. On the other hand, it is affecting sales, because when the market is flooded with these fake products, which also comes cheaper; some of the whole sellers and retailers who are still oblivious of the activities of these impostors, will naturally shift base, and start patronising them simply because they want to make more profit.