National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has destroyed N95 billion worth of unregistered pharmaceuticals, including Tramadol 200mg and higher strength in the Republic of Benin.
The director-general of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, who disclosed this yesterday at a press briefing on Joint International Destruction of 5 x 40 feet containers of unwholesome pharmaceutical products in Abuja, said the successful tracking and destruction of the products in the Republic of Benin on December 21 and 22, 2022, was as a result of intelligence report from the presidency in 2018.
“The containers were labelled building materials and bonded terminals,” she said.
On the operation, she said, “The director, Ports Inspection Directorate, working with his Intelligence and Monitoring Unit commenced the surveillance and monitoring of the reported containers from the ports of loading to the successive ports where they were transloaded along the sea routes.
“The first approach was to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of comptroller-general, Col Ahmed Ali (rtd). Eventually, 21 of the containers were discharged at the Apapa Port in Lagos, Nigeria as manifested. One container couldn’t be tracked because of a missing container number. Of the 21 containers, only two had building materials.
“However, as the importers of the containers became aware that NAFDAC was tracking and monitoring the containers on arrival at the Apapa port and intercepting them, they decided to change their strategy by diverting the remaining away from the Nigerian port. Four containers never got to Nigeria but were discharged at trans-shipment in Malaysia.
“One container was transferred to the Cotonou port in the Republic of Benin while the remaining four were initially diverted to the Tema Port in Ghana but later diverted to Cotonou having met resistance from Ghana Food and Drug Agency that NAFDAC already contacted for collaboration to stop the four containers.
“The street value of the drugs was estimated at N95 Billion (Ninety-five billion Naira),” she said, adding that a team of NAFDAC officers (including Investigation and Enforcement Directorate officers), led by Prof Adebayo, the Director of Ports Inspection Directorate travelled to Cotonou where the destruction exercise of the five containers took place.”
Adeyeye acknowledged president Muhammadu Buhari for returning NAFDAC to the ports in May 2018 after seven years absence, adding that it was the return of NAFDAC to Nigerian ports that made the four and half years monitoring of unregistered pharmaceuticals including tramadol to be possible.