By Taoreed Abdullahi
As part of its efforts to curb the menace of illegal importation, sales and distribution of counterfeited regulated products, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has raided a warehouse in Apongbon area of Lagos Island in Lagos.
The agency says it found one hundred and fifteen cartons of Potassium bromate tablets with a street value of twenty eight million seven hundred and fifty thousand naira.
The Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Monica Eimunjeze told newsmen during a media briefing at the NAFDAC office in Oshodi, that the agency also found EDC Bread Improver, packed in sachets with a fake NAFDAC registration number 01-4242, worth three hundred thousand naira.
Dr. Eimunjeze said one Rapoluchukwu Joseph was arrested as the importer during the operation.
She emphasized that Potassium bromate is a banned flour improver globally as it is a known cancer causing agent and It can also cause kidney failure among other ailments.
Dr. Eimunjeze said “Potassium bromate popularly known as tablets in the black economy is always attractive to merchants of death who want to make outrageous profit at the expense of citizens’ wellbeing. This is because apart from improving the texture of a loaf, it also increases its volume and it is relatively cheap. For example, the seized tablets could be used with three hundred thousand bags of 50kg flour to produce about thirty million family-size loaves of bread”.
Dr. Eimunjeze said that any flour product containing potassium bromate would be henceforth confiscated and the producer would be made to face the wrath of the law.
She said the action would ensure that only wholesome, safe, quality and efficacious products are imported, manufactured, distributed, sold and used by the Nigerian populace.
Dr. Eimunjeze revealed that the agency had in September intercepted four hundred Cartons of counterfeited Super Delicieur Cooking Margarine with purported NAFDAC registration number (A1-2508) With street value of eight million at Fg Motor Park New Road, Sabon Gari Market, Kano.
She said the agency commenced investigation which led its operatives to four States of the Federation namely Kano, Kaduna, Delta, Abia and Lagos States.
She said that after rigorous and painstaking efforts, the Agency’s operatives traced and arrested one Owerekwe Obinna Michael ‘male’ 46 years of 12 Boundry Street, Aba, Abia State as the importer of the counterfeited product.
Dr. Eimunjeze noted that as at the point of his arrest, the suspect upon sighting the operatives completely destroyed his mobile phone so that the evidence would not be traced to him.
The Acting NAFDAC DG said the suspect also fought the operatives, but was instantly overpowered, arrested and taken into custody, where he confessed that he actually imported four hundred cartons of the product from Dubai through groupage and cleared at Onne Port, Port Harcourt.
She said that the suspect claimed that the shipment was delivered to him by a clearing Agent, whose name he did not disclosed and that he also admitted distributing the product to Markets across the country.
Dr. Eimunjeze said preliminary examination of the product showed that the actual manufacturer’s name was not written, but produced for a company in Indonesia.
She enjoined members of the public to watch out for these injurious products anywhere in the country and report same or any suspected fake/counterfeited or unwholesome product to the nearest NAFDAC Office.