The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday, destroyed 48 containers of fake pharmaceutical drugs imported into the country through the nation’s seaports.
The pharmaceuticals, were destroyed at the waste destruction site belonging to the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) in Epe, Lagos State.
Other agencies of government present during the destruction of the 48 containers of the seized drugs were the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Customs delegation which was led by the Assistant Comptroller General, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Usman Dakingari, include Customs Area Controller for Apapa Customs Command, Compt. Yusuf Malanta, and the national spokesman of the Service, DC Timi Bomodi.
Speaking to journalists at the destruction site, the ACG Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Dankingari, said that unregulated drugs like the ones destroyed were fueling banditry, kidnapping and insecurity in the country.
Dankingari said, “These type of drugs fuel banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and insecurity in the country. That is why the Federal Government, through the Customs and NAFDAC, regularly mop up these drugs from circulation.
“It is on the basis of this that the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), mandated us to come and destroy these illicit drugs in collaboration with other government agencies. For today, we are destroying eight containers of these drugs. In total, we have 48 containers of drugs that will be destroyed in the coming days.
“These drugs came into the country as import units but were seized after examination revealed that they are substandard and fake. These are drugs that don’t have expiry or manufacturing date on them. These drugs didn’t pass though NAFDAC regulation and have everything written on them in foreign languages that Nigerians won’t be able to read.”
“We have Tramadol in various brands among the drugs to be destroyed. We also have Diclofenac and all sorts of analgesic drugs that were not certified by NAFDAC. We also have Codeine and so many types of drugs that have not been duly certified for consumption by NAFDAC.”
Also speaking, an assistant director, Enforcement and Investigation Directorate, NAFDAC, Mr. Kunle Ojo, explained that all the drugs earmarked for destruction have not passed through NAFDAC regulatory process, and thus do not have any evidence of proper registration.
In the words of the NAFDAC official, “All these drugs have not passed through NAFDAC regulatory processes and thus are fake drugs. Therefore, since we cannot certify that they were properly registered by NAFDAC, we cannot guaranty their genuineness. We want to thank the Customs for not letting these substandard drugs to get into the market because they can cause a lot of health hazards to the unsuspecting public. It can cause health hazards like Cancer, Liver problem, kidney problem and so many more.”
Also speaking, Area Controller of Apapa Customs Command, Ibrahim Malanta, said that the drugs contravened Sections 46 and 47 of the Customs Excise Management Act (CEMA), and therefore were liable to seizure.
“These drugs flout section 46 and 47 of the CEMA Act and thus are liable to seizure. To ensure they don’t get into the society, we are destroying them all, 48 containers in numbers. Before the end of the week, we should be done with the destruction process,” Comptroller Malanta stated.