By Dipo Olowookere
Attorney General for the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has assured the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that its request for the payment of professional lawyers engaged to handle high profile cases on unwholesome products is deserving. He pledged that the Agency’s request would receive prompt attention.
The Minister gave the assurance when the Acting Director –General, NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, and management team of the Agency paid a courtesy visit to his office on December 15, 2016.
According to the press release issued by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami commended the Acting Director-General of the Agency, for the modest achievements she had recorded so far.
He expressed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is interested in the agency’s quest to eliminate drug counterfeiting and other unwholesome products.
“This government has accorded great priority to the agency and indeed the health sector. Your contribution towards securing the health of the nation is enormous,” he added.
Earlier, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, highlighted that the agency had instituted fifty-two cases from February 2016 to date and have secured eight convictions.
She explained that despite the fact that majority of court proceedings were handled by in-house lawyers, some high profile ones were out-sourced to have an objective representation. As a result, some external solicitors have concluded a number of cases but were yet to be paid.
She therefore requested the Attorney General’s approval for the payment of the external solicitors which she identified as the pillars sustaining the enforcement drive of the Agency.
The DG also sought for the assistance of the AGF in guiding into fruition the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed food (Misc. Prov) Act Cap C34 CLFN 2004 that is receiving attention at the National Assembly.
She also disclosed that the agency had seized counterfeit drugs and unwholesome regulated products worth more than N12 billion in the last one year while N2.3 billion worth counterfeit regulated products were destroyed.
The DG emphasized that, “One of such seizures was from a suspect operating several warehouses in Lagos where medicines were being counterfeited. The agency seized counterfeit medicine worth N10 billion in single seizure which remains the largest seizure NAFDAC had recorded in the recent time.”
Furthermore, Oni gave insight into the manner of drugs seized from the offenders, pointing out that, “Drugs seized from the warehouses of these suspects include: Tarivid 200mg tablet, Augmentin 625mg tb, Proviron tb, Novasc tb,Glucophase 500 mg tb, GSK hologram for Loparex, Ciprotab, Lexotan. Others are Septrin and Ampiclox packaging materials, Cytotec 200mg, misoprostol etc.”
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