The prolonged exclusion of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from the seaports and borders of the country has finally been lifted on Wednesday 16 May, 2018, as the agency received a letter to that effect from the office of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The agency, through a press release said this was done to effectively control importation of unregulated products, falsified and substandard drugs, unwholesome foods, narcotic drugs and hazardous chemical substances and foods.
“ NAFDAC received the notice yesterday, May 16, 2018 in a letter dated 29th March, 2018 from the office of His Excellency, the Vice-President, as part of the PEBEC reforms”, the release stated.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye, lamented the huge loss the absence of the agency had cost the citizens since 2011, saying thousands of Nigerians have died as a result of falsified and substandard medicines. “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”.
The document reads in part:
“Aside from the dangers posed to public health, involvement of our youths in abuse of drugs weakens our national development, economy and nation building as a result of accompanied side effects of abuse, i.e., disruption of life goals, ideals and families. Moreover, the threat to our national security, due to criminality and terrorism that often result from such abuse is obvious.
“The need for the 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”.
“NAFDAC wishes to commend again the Office of the NSA, the Chemical Society of Nigeria, The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN) and other key stakeholders for recognizing NAFDAC as a key player in the national security architecture by this singular act of restoring the presence of NAFDAC officials at all designated ports of entry and land borders.
“Our Agency will work with the Nigeria Customs Service, The Shippers Council and other sister agencies in ensuring that foods, drugs, chemicals and other NAFDAC regulated products that pose danger to our population are controlled at the point of entry.
“NAFDAC at the ports will ensure that dangerous drugs or substances of abuse, many times falsely shipped as building materials, electrical appliances, computer accessories, etc. will be intercepted 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”.