As part of its drive to rid Nigeria of fake and counterfeit products, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in the last one week has arrested different manufactures with fake NAFDAC numbers and unauthorized products in Lagos and Edo.
The manufactures who are currently being interrogated include Nura Ayuba, Yahaya Tanimu, Abubakar Ibrahim (A.K.A Lamido) and Idris Adamu (prime suspect) who were arrested for unauthorized production of Lamhjib Herbal Medicine and forgery of NAFDAC number; illegal distribution and sales of suspected counterfeit Read-A-Dream insecticides and hair relaxers at Edo and Delta State and illegal production, distribution and sales of counterfeit Tasty Time Glucozaid energy drink, a pass-off of Lucozade energy drink in Lagos.
The Ag. Director-General of NAFDAC Mrs. Yetunde Oluremi Oni made this known to press men today at the agency’s Lab in Oshodi, Lagos.
Speaking through the Director Investigation and Enforcement, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, she said: “Following an intelligence report by the Agency’s Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance Directorate on a facility suspected to be producing Lamjib Herbal Medicine using fake NAFDAC Registration Number, NAFDAC Enforcement team raided the company located at Mile 12 area of Lagos; the factory was closed down and arrests were made.
“During interrogation, the suspect claimed that the product is duly registered with NAFDAC and even tendered registration certificate to the investigators. Investigation further revealed that the NAFDAC Registration certificate is fake. “Mr. Yahaya in collaboration with two others: Mr. Abubakar Ibrahim a.k.a Lamido and Idris Adamu (Prime Suspect), Mr. Idris Adamu based in Sokoto was said to have designed the NAFDAC Certificate using a computer, printed and way billed it to Mr. Abubakar Ibrahim a.k.a Lamido at Kaduna who filled all necessary information and signed. He further confessed to have received N100, 000.00 from the N150, 000.00 given by the client,” she said adding that investigation is ongoing and that the case will be prosecuted.
In the second arrest, the NAFDAC DG said: “a team of Investigation and Enforcement officers and Federal Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food carried out raid operations at Benin, Edo state and Warri in Delta State.
“The operation commenced at Ikpoba Hill Market, Benin City, where the team arrested a man named Louis Ojukwu selling a wide variety of hair relaxers inside a wheel barrow. The suspect led the team to his home, a rented room which also serves as factory for the production of the counterfeits where packaging and other production materials were recovered and evacuated to NAFDAC warehouse for further investigation.
“The team proceeded to other locations in the city and discovered fake Read-A-Dream insecticide in three shops: B .B stores 3 Itebite Street, Mission Road; CTC stores, 4 off mission Road, Benin city and N0.10 Mission Road all in Benin, Edo State.
“However, the entire suspects involved in the case pointed at one Sabastine as the main supplier of the offending product. Mr. Sabastine in his submissions, admitted claims made by other suspects and further added to have been supplied by a smuggler from Benin Republic,” she said, adding that investigation is also ongoing.
According to her, the third arrest is a case of production, distribution and sale of unregistered Tasty Time Glucozeaid Energy Drink with fake NRN: 01-2474L by Mr. Kole Isaac O., the Managing Director of Tasty Time Nigeria Ltd, located at No 1, Kole Street, Olude B/Stop, Ipaja, Lagos.
“Following a tip off by a concerned citizen, a team of NAFDAC Enforcement officers raided Tasty Time Nigeria Ltd, Ipaja. On arrival, the offending product with seventeen (17) other unregistered products were seen in the company’s warehouse and factory, both in different locations within the same area. The Managing Director could not produce evidence of registration of any of the products with NAFDAC.
“Consequently, the company is producing Tasty Time Glucozeaid Energy Drink which is a pass-off to the registered Lucozade Energy Drink. Also of note is the fact that the company also clandestinely copied the label and artwork of Lucozade Energy drink and inserted the NAFDAC Registration number of one of their products with expired certificate as the NAFDAC Registration number of the Glucozaid Energy Drink.
“Moreover, during production inspection carried out by Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate officials, the label or art work presented was totally different from the label on the counterfeit Glucozaid Energy drink in circulation. The Managing Director has been arrested, interrogated and investigation is ongoing,” she said.
She however reaffirmed, “NAFDAC is using this medium to advice the general public that while we encourage SMEs to be innovative and produce their own products in line with promoting the Ease of Doing Business Initiative of the Federal Government, the Agency will not support any enterprise that counterfeits established brands of regulated products already registered with the Agency.
“I want to re-iterate that Nigerians have a right to good quality, safe, effective and wholesome regulated products and NAFDAC is striving to ensure that citizens enjoy this right unhindered.
“NAFDAC is therefore taking steps to arrest the situation of use of fake NAFDAC Registration Numbers on Regulated products, forgery of NAFDAC documents and other surreptitious activities on finished products through renewed Enforcement drive and post registration/market surveillance.”
“In our renewed and avowed drive to rid Nigeria off fake and counterfeit regulated products, we are strengthening collaboration with National and International Organizations and Agencies. This is attested by the fact that currently the Agency is participating in the Interpol and Regional Investigative Case Meeting on Pharmaceutical Crime.
“The meeting is aimed at bringing countries within the region to a collaborative meeting to adopt a common strategy in the fight against Substandard and Falsified (SF) Medical Products and other unwholesome products.
“The Agency has over sixty (60) cases at various stages of prosecution at the courts,” she concluded.