Nigerian Security Agencies Must Work Together – Rotimi

Security Analyst, Kemi Rotimi has shed light on the on-going development of a National Policy on Public Safety and Security with optimism that it will improve the effectiveness of security agencies in Nigeria.

During an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr. Rotimi revealed that Nigeria has been without a policy regulating the activities of safety and security agencies and this has contributed to the lapses in the system.

The situation informed the need to develop a policy document that will restructure the system, hence the inauguration of his committee in June 2013 by the Ministry of Police Affairs, and the committee commenced work by consulting the heads of security agencies at the Federal Capital Territory in order to get their recommendations.

He said that the policy document being worked on will put together what every security agency is doing, where they are interconnected and how to ensure effective and efficient resource mobilization and utilization.

“This is a policy that will show how agencies connected with safety and security should synergize and harmonize their mandate because every organisation has its remit.”

Mr Rotimi who is also a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) called on Nigerians to “focus on the message rather than the messenger”, explaining that though the mission is being executed under the auspices of the Ministry of Police Affairs; it requires the cooperation of all security agencies and stakeholders.

He cited the usual reluctance from the people on affairs concerning the Police, but stressed that “the committee has no apology about the fact that in a democracy, the Police represents the first line of internal security.” He added that most of the other agencies like NSCDC and the Customs started from the Police and that should also justify it being at the apex of the arrangement.

Using the Nigerian Customs Service as a case study, Mr. Rotimi further emphasized the need for all security and safety agencies in the country to do their jobs well for them to deliver safety and security as their activities affect one another.

He said beyond revenue generation “through all the borders, all manner of things get in…by their (The Customs) activities, they can apprehend those who are bringing in fake goods, fake drugs, and you go on to the next stage, NAFDAC. So it’s a chain of everybody working together”. Therefore a major focus of the policy is to spell out cooperation among the several safety and security agencies.

He stated that there should have been no reasons for the Police and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to clash if there had been a clear understanding of roles and boundaries in the system, stressing that they can actually interconnect instead of the rivalries witnessed on many occasions.

The committee is embarking on zonal interaction forums with several stakeholders and organizations invited to present briefs and suggestions to the committee. It is mainly to create the opportunity for operatives beyond the headquarters to come out and share the peculiarities of safety and security issues in their regions.

Information sharing, effective resource utilization, training, are among other issues that the national safety and security policy document will be focusing on.

Gov Ahmed Calls For Stiffer Penalties For Fake Drugs

Kwara State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed has called on the National Assembly and state houses of assembly to introduce stiffer penalties for the production and supply of substandard drugs.

Governor Ahmed made the call in Ilorin at the opening ceremony of the 86th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

The Governor noted that it was unfortunate that substandard drugs were still sneaked into the health delivery system across the country thus putting the health of patients in jeopardy.

He added that his administration has established the Fake and Counterfeit Drugs Task Force and a drug abuse control structure to check the menace of fake drugs and drug abuse.

He also charged members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria to ensure that the new drug distribution guideline was implemented in all the states of the federation, as part of strategies to check fake drug incidents in the country.

Governor Ahmed advocated a synergy between pharmaceutical and traditional medical practitioners in order to widen the horizon of medical care in the country as evidence supported the efficacy of traditional medicine.

He, therefore, canvassed for rigorous research into herbs to determine their efficacy and safety, so that the nation could benefit from the therapeutic and economic advantages of alternative medicine.

The Kwara State Chairman of the society, Mojeed Oderinde called on the Nigerian Government to exercise its political will in dealing decisively with producers of fake drugs, to serve as deterrent to others.

Court Adjourns My Pikin Appeal To Monday For Hearing

The Court of Appeal, Lagos division presided over by Justice J.S. Ikyegh today said it would  hear on Monday, the appeal filed by the convicted manufacturers of ‘my pikin’ teething mixture which was said to have killed over 80 Nigerian Children in 2008.

The decision of the court followed the respondents plea for time, to enable them file their response to the appellants’ applications seeking the bail of the convicts pending the determination of the appeal and the application seeking for departure from the Rules of the Court as well as an accelerated hearing of the appeal.

By this adjournment, the respondent (NAFDAC) is therefore expected to have filed all necessary processes by the next adjourned date to enable the Court hear the pending applications.

On May 17, 2013, Hon. Justice Okechukwu Okeke, now retired of the Federal High Court, Lagos in his judgment found guilty and convicted the appellants, Egbele Austin Eromosele and Adeyemo Abiodun to seven years inprisonment while ruling that their firm, Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited be wound up and assets forfeited to the federal government.

The judge found them guilty of conspiracy to and sale of dangerous drugs. But on the same day, counsel to the convicts, Osaro Eghobamien (SAN) filed a Notice of Appeal on their behalf challenging the decision of the learned trial Judge.

He later filed a 14 ground amended Notice of Appeal on July 3, 2013 contesting the judgment and insisting that the trial judge erred in law in failing to consider the evidence of the defence but relied wholly on the unsworn statement of DW1 (defence witness 1).

“The learned trial Judge erred in law in convicting me for conspiracy and sale of dangerous drugs relying on unsustainable evidence in the absence of either direct evidence of identified victims who may have consumed the drugs, or autopsy/forensic reports in proof of the alleged deaths as a result of taking the drugs”, the appellant stated, insisting that the conviction is unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be sustained having regard to the evidence.

Eghobamien had on June 28, filed at the court of appeal an application seeking to depart from the Rules of the Court (in a bid to obtain accelerated hearing of the matter) as well as application for bail on behalf of the appellants pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

On July 3, 2013 the parties were served with a hearing notice informing them that the motion will be set down for hearing on July 5, 2013. At the resumed hearing yesterday, the Appellants brief of argument in the appeal was filed. Eghobamien  informed the Court of its two aforementioned pending applications and expressed his desire to proceed with the applications.

But counsel to the Respondent, J. Kadiri of Mike Ozekhome Chambers informed the Court that, having been served with the applications on July 4, time would be required to respond to same.
The Court was of the view that owing to the nature and urgency of the matter, it will adjourn same to Monday, July 8, by which time the Respondents would have filed a necessary response to enable the Court hear the application.

University Of Benin Disowns Professor’s Claim of AIDS Cure

The University of Benin has disowned claims that its researchers have found a cure for HIV/AIDS, following the announcement by the Dean of the School of Basic Medical Sciences, Professor Isaiah Ibeh, that a new drug which was capable of wiping out the virus from a patient in 30 days has been discovered.

Prof. Ibeh, who is the Dean of the School’s Basic Medical Sciences, said he has conducted trials on five HIV patients, and the outcome showed the drug, Deconcuction X (DX)–Liquid or Bioclean 11, has the potency to destroy the virus.

The school’s Provost, College of Medical Science, Vincent Iyawe, said on Wednesday the school was not “consulted’ or “carried along” in the research, and said protocols for such studies were also not followed.

“The school will like to take credit for a breakthrough, but the school cannot align with the breakthrough because the university college was not consulted, Mr. Iyawe, a Professor, was quoted as saying.

He said the findings needed to be presented to the federal ministry of health and exposed to more comprehensive clinical trials.

“We are going to take it (drug) to the clinical laboratory; we are going to take it to the Federal Ministry of Health because they have a procedure there,” he said. “We’ll probably take it to NAFDAC because it is a unit or department of the ministry.

“We’ll take it for clinical trial, and many things we’ll have to do before we can announce that we discovered something. In fact, we have to take it to the World Health Organization. So these are the things we are discussing.”

Professor Ibeh, had earlier told reporters in Benin that the herbal drug had undergone “series of successful tests”.

He said more volunteers were undergoing treatment and that the efficacy of the medication, a herbal product, has been reviewed by US Toxicologists.

Mr. Ibeh’s announcement that the drug developed by his team could cure AIDS with guarded optimism, and outright rejection.

FG to increase cocoa production to 500mt by 2015

The Federal Government has announced plans to increase the production of cocoa to about 500 metric tonnes by 2015 through its growth enhancement support scheme for the agricultural sector.

The plan is also expected to create 390,000 jobs in the cocoa sector.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, Dr Ezekeil Oyemomi refuted claims that the recently approved agrochemicals by the Federal Government are harmful to cocoa trees.

The Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Professor Malachy Akoroda said that the pesticides have been screened and registered by the institute and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Economic Management Team order agencies to stop fake products

The federal government has directed regulatory agencies in the country to work quickly to address the menace of sub-standard products in the country.

The directive was issued after the Economic Management Team’s meeting, presided by President Goodluck Jonathan at the state house on Tuesday.

Noting that sub-standard products whether manufactured locally or imported could be detrimental to consumers, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke to journalists after the meeting said the team took presentation from three agencies to address the detrimental effect of sub-standard products and therefore concluded on stamping out the menace.

President Jonathan and the Economic Management Team met for over eight hours to discuss how to support the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) in the enforcement of set-down regulations in the control of substandard products.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, also noted that the government’s decision is about how to protect local manufacturers from unhealthy competition with those who import inferior products.

Commending the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Finance Minister noted that the agency has brought down the prevalence of fake drugs down to 6 per cent from the 16.7 per cent it stood in the past.

In his address, the governor of Adamawa state, Mr Murtala Nyako, said the team was satisfied with the presentations made by the regulatory agencies and suggestions were offered to them to improve on their activities.

Also speaking, the governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi said curtailing sub-standard products and dumping of goods into the country would help in growing the local industries.

The 24 man Economic Management Team was inaugurated by the president in 2011 to generate programmes and policies aimed at achieving government’s transformation agenda.

FG vows not to appeal for any Nigerian caught for drug trafficking abroad

With more than a million Nigerians in different foreign prisons on account of drug related offences the federal government has warned that it will not appeal for clemency on behalf of anyone indicted in any country across the world.

The government’s position was announced by the office of Secretary to the government, at an event to mark the 2012 International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

An aide of the Secretary to the government , Mr Ferdinand Agu  said while government will continue to support law abiding Nigerians, drug traffickers will not be assisted by the government  because they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions.

He advised Nigerians to seek ways of earning an honest living even as the government continue to work towards providing the adequate environment for them to thrive, to avoid falling into that state of hopelessness.

The Senate President, David Mark also recently declared the nation’s upper legislature will not intervene in cases of Nigerians found guilty of criminal activities in foreign countries.  He however said that the government would not allow any Nigerian to be unfairly treated in foreign nations.

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the country representative of the United Nations office on drug and crimes, the director general of National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) and the executive secretary of NAPTIP, school children and Nigerians drawn from different works of life were all present at an event to mark the international day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Although the year under review indicates that 3,028 persons have been arrested for drug trafficking and about 66.273kilograms of illicit drugs confiscated, what has become more worrisome is the increasing level of the use of hard drugs in Nigeria, which also regarded as a transit country.

Experts say there is a need to shift from supply suppression to demand reduction as statistics indicate that the use of hard drugs in Nigeria is growing at an increasing rate.

With these alarming statistics, the NDLEA is evolving strategies that will go beyond the enforcement of laws guarding against the abuse and illicit trafficking of drugs to preventive measures that will curtail the urge for use and trading, especially amongst young Nigerians.

And for those who dare to traffic these drugs outside the shore of the country, the federal government warns that it will not be drawn into negotiations for clemency on their behalf.

While the awareness of the problems of drug abuse and trafficking are brought to the front burner at forums such as this ,experts say that efforts to fight the menace will only be effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the young, old, civil society, government and international community.


Banned Gentamycin Injection kills two in Benue

 The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control, NAFDAC, Paul Orhii, says a banned Gentamycin injection has killed two women, Florence Bagidi and Florence Saawuan in Makurdi, Benue State.

The DG who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, said the victims died after being injected with the banned gentamycin 280mg injection by a quack, a secondary school certificate holder and a patent medicine store operator.

According to him, “We are investigating…deaths of two women who died following the administration of the banned drug. We want to alert Nigerians that there is banned gentamycin 280mg injection in circulation”.

Dr. Orji added that, the gentamycin had been banned, recalled and de-registered by NAFDAC in October 2010 but doctors, hospitals and pharmacies still stock the drug in their establishment.

Stating why the drug was banned, the DG said “it was banned after several cases of adverse reactions, including instant deaths, deafness in children, bleeding, anaphylactic shock and hypertension were reported in many patients who took the drug in Nigeria.”

“Hospitals, pharmacies and other outlets still stocking this products are hereby advised to immediately surrender them to NAFDAC…” Dr. Orji warned

House directs NAFDAC to refund N1.2 billion

The House of Representatives committee on public accounts has directed the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to refund 1.259billion naira to government coffers within six months.

The committee chairman, Rep. Solomon Olamilekan, gave this directive after the agency failed to address an audit query raised by the Auditor General of the Federation’s (AGF) office accusing the agency of refusing to remit a total amount of N1.348 billion to the consolidated revenue accounts of the federation.

The committee also directed the office of the AGF, to immediately embark on a full scale auditing of the revenue profile of the agency and its expenditure from 2006 to 2011.





NAFDAC says fake Goya Olive oil is in circulation

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised an alert on circulation of fake Goya Olive oil in the Nigerian.

The alert followed a two days enforcement exercise across Kwara State by officials of the Agency. The exercise led to the discovery of a syndicate, which specialised in the production of the fake product at an outlet in Oja-Tutu area of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

In a statement made available to journalist, NAFDAC said the discovery was made following surveillance mounted by the agency’s officials on report of a possible faking of Napal brand of vegetable oil (250ml), which was sold to the public as Goya Olive oil.

Roseline Ajayi, an Assistant Director in the NAFDAC office in Ilorin who led the operation with other officers, confirmed the discovery. She said that the exercise was routine, but specially targeted to mop-up the fake oil products in circulation.

Briefing journalist after the exercise, Mrs Ajayi said other products including drugs and creams with so many discrepancies that do not meet NAFDAC’s specifications were confiscated from the shop.

She said the regulatory officers met the suspects in the act of illegal removal and relabeling of different brands of oil as well as unbranded vegetable oil products with fake Goya Olive oil labels. The shop owners were arrested by the agency’s operatives who closed the shops and confiscation the fake Goya products.