Officers of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have returned to seaports and land borders to control importation of unregulated products.
The agency is collaborating with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) and with the active support of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), and Ministry of Transport.
According to the agency, this is to effectively control importation of unregulated products, falsified and substandard drugs, unwholesome foods, narcotic drugs and hazardous chemical substances and foods into the country.
NAFDAC said it received the notice on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 in a letter dated 29th March, 2018 from the office of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as part of the PEBEC reforms.
In a statement signed on Thursday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye, said thousands of Nigerians have died because of falsified and substandard medicines.
He also noted that the development became even more necessary following a recently released documentary on codeine abuse.
He said: “Many are currently ill, most likely due to unwholesome foods, drugs and abuse of narcotics and controlled substances, such as codeine, tramadol, pentazocine, etc. These are partly due to exclusion of NAFDAC from our ports since 2011. The recent documentary on codeine abuse brought more attention to the issue.”
He further stated that apart from the dangers posed to public health, drug abuse weakens and slows down economic and national development, as well as “increases the threats to national security.”
“The need for return of NAFDAC officials to the Ports and borders has been emphasized in different fora by the new NAFDAC’s DG but received a boost in the Communique issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser at the end of the National Chemical Security Training Conference in Abuja on 16th March, 2018. The theme of the conference was “Towards a Secured Importation, Distribution, Storage and Use of Chemicals in Nigeria,” the statement noted.
The agency expressed gratitude to the Office of the NSA, the Chemical Society of Nigeria, The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), among other key stakeholders for recognising it as a key player in the national security architecture.
It therefore, promised that with the help of Nigerian Customs Service, the Shippers Council and other sister agencies, it will “ensure that products that pose danger to the population are controlled at the point of entry.
“In addition, the presence of NAFDAC at the ports and borders will reduce significantly the evasion of payments of statutory fees for importation of regulated products, thus increasing the Agency’s internally generated revenue and that of the Federal Government,” the agency stated.