By Gabriel Olawale, LAGOS
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has raided two warehouses in Lagos State, containing over N3 billion worth of fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director General of the Agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that over 20 truckloads of the offensive products were evacuated from the two locations, while the importer is still at large.
She said: “The officers of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC and the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods raided two warehouses at the TradeFair Complex in Lagos, where multiple cartons of banned drugs were discovered and evacuated.
“The banned and falsified drugs in the warehouses owned by one Chuka, who is still at large, is estimated to be worth over N3 billion.
“Over 20 truckloads of the offensive products were evacuated from the two locations.
“The products were stored at temperatures above 40oc, which ordinarily would denature some of the active ingredients and the excipients.”
Mojisola explained that on November 10, the Agency arraigned one Mr. Afemefuna Udensi of Phini Pharms Limited, Onitsha, at the Federal High Court, Lagos for importing fake Tramadol.
From China with drugs
The defendant imported a fake version of the registered brand. Investigation also revealed that the fake drugs were imported from China.
“The Agency has also observed that some fake and counterfeit products are brought into the country through a system known as ‘Groupage’.
“This is a system where more than two persons load containers with different items from the country of origin.
“It is collectively cleared and distributed to the owners of the items. This system aids and abets counterfeiting.
“The Agency has found that controlled, banned, and unregistered Regulated Products are usually concealed and brought into the country through this arrangement.
“In order to deal with the incidence of Food Fraud, the Agency is carrying out raid operations with tremendous success already recorded in the area of forfeiture of unwholesome processed cereals, beverages, and dairy products.
“In the nationwide raid which commenced in July 2021, seven trucks conveying 4,578 cartons of various unlabelled, transparent nylon packed cereals worth over N60,000,000, were confiscated by the Agency.
“The sources of these various falsely packed cereals and dairy products cannot be verified and, therefore, NAFDAC cannot guarantee the safety of the products for consumption.
Snacks from waste trucks
“During one of our operations, a suspect declared that the CocoPops, CornFlakes and Oats being displayed for sale in transparent nylons were sourced from LAWMA waste disposal trucks before repackaging into transparent nylons.
“The public is hereby warned not to purchase cereal or other products that have been removed from their primary packaging so as not to jeopardize their health.
“The Agency is particularly pained because infants and children are the target and the ultimate victims of such wicked and evil activities.”