Officials of Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) in Nasarawa State, in collaboration with the Department of State Security (DSS) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have apprehended a codeine baron in Lafia, the state capital.
Pharm Okpalaeke Nwora, the officer in charge of PCN in Nasarawa State, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lafia, yesterday.
According to Nwora, the strong collaboration with the security outfits, led to the successful arrest of the Codeine Baron, Amaechi Okoronkwo and his assistant, Frederick Uchenna, at his shop along UAC road in Lafia on December 18, 2017.
Nwora said the baron, who had been escaping arrest since 2015, was trailed and arrested with 11 cartons of assorted codeine containing cough syrup which has about 660 bottles amounting to about N700, 000.
“This arrest took place on 18th December, 2017 at his unnamed patent medicine shop in Lafia and if you must know, patent medicine shops or dealers are not allowed to stock or sell codeine containing cough syrups in the first place not to talk of having a large quantity of this product.
“He has been apprehended and further investigations have commenced. The PCN, under the dynamic leadership of Pharm Elijah Mohammed, will continue to make efforts to ensure that our society is rid of such elements,” He said.
Nwora further revealed that, “In the course of our investigation so far, we discovered that these products of various brands are being supplied to Lafia from Onitsha. You are aware that the PCN and indeed the Federal Ministry of Health, have been pushing for the dismantling of all open drug markets across the country.
“Because if these open drug markets are allowed to stay, we will continue to have chaotic distributions of drugs in Nigeria meaning that the wrong persons will have the opportunity to handle all sorts of drugs and pharmaceutical products which is dangerous for the society.”
Nwora said after investigations and all due process have been followed, the Nasarawa State based codeine baron will be charged to court in accordance with the laws of the land.
He however admitted that despite the efforts of the PCN, National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other bodies, the country, especially the northern part, is facing a huge challenge curtailing the use of codeine and other substances by its youths.
“There is a huge challenge with codeine cough syrup in Nigeria, especially in the north and Nasarawa State in particular. This ugly challenge is almost trying to destroy the youths in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the PCN is working modalities and strategies as a foremost regulator to combat the challenge” he said.
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