The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye has revealed that to destroy a container load of Tramadol cost the agency between N1m and N2m.
This is even as she revealed that NAFDAC has taken the fight against the importation of substandard and fake products to India and China, where two Clean Report Inspection (CRI) Agents were removed because they indulged in facilitating illicit drugs to Nigeria.
Disclosing this on Tuesday when she hosted a virtual media parley with the print media, the NAFDAC DG explained that for seven years when the agency was not at the ports, importers of fake and substandard drugs were having a field day bringing in dangerous products into the country.
According to Mrs Adeyeye, “Don’t forget that for seven years, we were not at the port and importers of dangerous drugs were having a field day. Our children were going wacko due to drug abuse that was almost becoming a normal thing in this country.
“In May of 2018, our officials returned to the ports and gave importers of these illicit drugs a run for their money. Many containers of Tramadol were impounded by NAFDAC and destroyed. To destroy a container of Tramadol, it costs around N1m to N2m.
“Importers of these illicit drugs, when it dawned on them that we are back at the ports, started diverting some of these shipments to neighbouring countries in the West African sub-region. We went after them in these countries and still seized their shipments.
As I speak, five containers of Tramadol meant for the Nigerian market are in the Benin Republic. The Nigerian Ambassador over there is currently making efforts to bring those consignments here for destruction. The NAFDAC Directorate at the port is up and running.
“There was a time I was in the United Kingdom (UK) for a family function and got alerted that 14 container shipment of Tramadol was on its way to Lagos. I quickly called our Port Directorate and alerted them to ensure those shipments do not enter the country.”
On what she met on ground when she resumed as NAFDAC DG, Adeyeye explained that ‘On resumption as NAFDAC DG, I was shocked at the state of decay in our laboratories all over the country.
We have seven laboratories nationwide, and many were in a state of rot. How can we certify drugs and foods when our labs are not properly equipped?
“As we speak, our laboratories have been given a facelift. Now we have some money to buy some detection devices, and this will reduce the numbers of goods that we need to take to the laboratory for examination.
“Last year, I was in India and China to examine some of their laboratories where goods meant for importation to Nigeria are tested.
In these countries, they have Clean Report Inspection (CRI) Agents who certify these products before they are shipped to Nigeria. We had to remove two of the CRI Agents because we found them culpable in allowing substandard drugs to come to Nigeria. We told them in China and India that we don’t want substandard goods in Nigeria anymore.”