NAFDAC Raids Abraka Market In Asaba

As portrayed in the mission statement of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to safeguard public health by ensuring that only the right quality of food, drugs and other regulated products are manufactured and consumed, the agency inspected a liqour factory and raided the popular Abraka market in Asaba, the Delta state capital.

The agency said it is conducting the raid following a tip-off about some people who had local liquor production sites, where adulteration was going on as well as unauthorised individuals involved in the sales and distribution of drugs.

The Director of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate Agency of NAFDAC, Mr Kingsley Ejiofor,  led the team to raid petty kiosks illegally involved in the sales of fake and unauthorised drugs at two popular Hausa communities, both along the Asaba- Onitscha expressway Oshimili south Local Government Area of Delta state.

The drugs confiscated are majorly fake aphrodisiac manpower drugs like Tramadol of 200mg, 225mg with high strength which is not meant to be sold at the market.

One of the NAFDAC officials explains the effect some of the drugs could have on the people using them; “Considering the nature of this environment, it is possible to have frequent cases of rape because of these kinds of drugs. All they just need to do is to administer a little portion of it into any drink, the lady drinks and gets unconscious, even when she wakes up, she cannot recall whatever it is that may have occurred”.

Earlier on, the team had inspected a liquor factory involved in the production of local gin.

Seemingly displeased with the production environment, Mr Ejiofor who led the team had asked the management of the factory to ensure that the production environment is clean and safe at all times, to ensure the safety of its consumers

While stating that the raid was carried out as a result of a tip-off by some individuals, Mr Ejiofor, however, advised the public to stop patronizing unauthorised drug sales shops, to avoid buying potentially dangerous and expired products.

“We are using this as an opportunity to encourage members of the public to report to us when they feel or consume any bad product harmful to their health.

“This particular raid came as a result of a consumer’s complain, who consumed a product and began to stool blood”, he said.

Sanitizing the Nigerian Society of Fake and Counterfeit Drugs, remains a top priority for the agency as it reassures Nigerians of a healthy and safe environment.

Finance Ministry Begins Recovery Process For Un-remitted MDAs 450bn Naira

Nigeria-NairaThe Federal Ministry of Finance in Nigeria has set up a committee to recover un-remitted operating surpluses of Ministries Department and Agencies of the government, running into 450 billion Naira.

The committee led by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, is to reconcile the operating surpluses of 31 revenue-generating agencies of government from 2010 to 2015.

The findings of the committee so far, have shown under-remittance of over 450 billion Naira, which has accrued within the period.

The Finance Ministry stated that staff of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have critically reviewed the accounting statements of these agencies, which include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Petroleum Technology Development Fund, (PTDF), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), among others.

The Committee will invite the management of these agencies to explain why their operating surpluses have not been remitted as mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.

Sections 21 and 22 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, specifically states that: The government corporations and agencies and government owned companies listed in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred of as “the Corporations”) shall, not later than six months from the commencement of this Act and every three financial years thereafter and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and submit to the Minister their Schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years.

The Act further stated that each of the bodies referred to in sub-section (1) of the section should submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year: an annual budget derived from the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; and a projected operating surplus which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices.

It also stated that the Minister shall cause the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (2) of this section to be attached as part of the Appropriation Bill to be submitted to the National Assembly.

Another part of the Act that pertains to the MDAs stated that notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the corporation, each corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one-fifth of its operating surplus for the year.

“The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidate Revenue Fund of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each corporation’s accounts,” the Act added.

Some of these agencies have incurred huge expenses on overseas training and medicals, and huge expenses on behalf of supervisory ministries and/other organs of government involved in oversight or regulatory functions without appropriate approval.

Other infractions include payment of salaries and allowances to staff and board members, governing councils, and commissions which are outside or above the amount approved by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

The list also includes unacceptable expenses incurred on donations and sponsorships among others. It also contained unfavourable contract signed for revenue collection by a third party; granting of staff loans that have not been repaid as well as sale and transfer of assets to board members, among others.

According to the Finance Ministry, the overall effect of these practices is that operating surpluses of these agencies are lower than it should be.

As a result of this, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has directed the Accountant General of the Federation to issue a circular that will limit allowable expenses that can be spent as part of measures to ensure these agencies face strict monitoring.

This development is part of the resolve of the Honourable Minister to ensure that leakages are tackled.

Reps To Investigate Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Policy

Reps, Foreign Exchange, NigeriaIn a bid to find ways to stabilize the foreign exchange market in Nigeria, an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives, is to meet with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bureau De Change, banks and other establishments operating in the sector.

This was one of the resolutions reached by lawmakers when considering a motion on the lingering scarcity of foreign exchange in the country.

The house has also mandated the committee to know the establishments that have obtained foreign exchange at subsidized rates from the Central Bank and how the funds were spent.

According to the report read by a member of the House of Representatives , Ali Isa, despite the “CBN’s weekly release of forex to the BDC’s and banks, the value of the Naira against the dollar and pounds sterling, continues to depreciate, further worsening the economic conditions of the country”.

The continuous weakening of the Naira against the dollar, has “affected the production of goods services and has consequently made life more difficult for most Nigerians,” the report stated.

The committee is however expected to report back in four weeks.

Businesses shut Down

One of such businesses affected by a prolonged scarcity of foreign exchange is Tomato Paste Producer, Erisco Foods Limited.

The CEO of the company, Eric Odinaka Umeofia on Wednesday said he would have to shut down his factories if the situation persists.

He added that his company has been frustrated by the National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC), Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Mr. Umeofia like many other business owners said the stifling business conditions would result in him having to lay off 1,500 of his 2,052 employees.

The recession, combined with a shortage of dollars, and short aviation fuel supply have also had a major impact on the aviation sector with airlines winding down operations.

My Pikin: Court Affirms Convicts’ 7-Year Sentence

my_pikinThe Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld the judgment of a Lagos High Court, which sentenced two employees of Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited to seven years imprisonment each for selling a contaminated teething syrup- “My Pikin”.

The contaminated syrup was said to have led to the Death of some babies.

In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Chinwe Iyozoba on Tuesday, the Appeal Court held that samples of the contaminated drug were tested in a laboratory, adding that the process was clear, smooth and there was no need for additional scientific evidence being requested by the appellants.

The court, however, held that the lower court was wrong when it convicted the appellants on the offence of conspiracy adding that the prosecution did not establish any evidence showing that the appellants conspired to manufacture and distribute contaminated drugs.

Consequently, the appeal court set-aside their conviction on conspiracy but added that it will not have any effect on the 7-year sentence since the jail term will run concurrently.

The court also set aside the order of the lower court winding up the company and the forfeiture of its assets to the Federal Government.

The court held that Section 118(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act did not empower the trial judge to wind-up the company and order forfeiture of its assets.

The court further held that what the trial judge ought to have done was to order forfeiture of the contaminated drugs and not the company.

However, the court imposed N1 million fine against the appellants.

This is the second time the case is coming to the Court of Appeal after the Supreme Court had ordered the appellate court to hear the case on the valid ground of appeal filed before it in July 2013.

Justice Okechukwu Okeke of a Federal High Court in Lagos had sentenced two men, Adeyemo Abiodun and Ebele Eromosele on May 17, 2013 for selling the syrup known as “My Pikin’’.

The convicts were employees of the Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited Lagos.

They were prosecuted by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Justice Okeke found the duo guilty of conspiracy and sale of the adulterated teething mixture, which was said to have caused the death of more than 80 children in Nigeria.

The court had also ordered that the company should wind up and its asset forfeited to the Federal Government.

Dissatisfied, the appellants urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the entire judgement.

But in its judgement delivered by Justice Sidi Bage, the appeal court affirmed the 7-year sentence, but reversed the order for winding up and forfeiture.

The judge held that the prosecution sufficiently proved that the men committed the offences.

But, the Supreme Court faulted the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which upheld their conviction.

The Supreme Court, faulted the judgement on the ground that it was determined on an abandoned notice and grounds of appeal.

The apex court in its verdict delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, then ordered that the appeal be remitted to the Court of Appeal, Lagos for it to hear the appeals on the “valid notice/grounds of appeal” filed on July 3, 2013.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour noted that, of all the issues raised in the appeals, it was discovered that issue two was a threshold issue, to the effect that the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division abandoned the operative notice of appeal and relied on the abandoned notice of Appeal.

Court Adjourns Guinness’ Suit Against NAFDAC Till February 8

Supreme courtA Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island, has adjourned the suit filed by one of Nigeria’s brewing giants, Guinness Nigeria Plc, against the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) till February 8, 2016 to enable parties meet for amicable resolution of the dispute.

Justice Wasiu Animahun adjourned the suit following submissions of counsel that a meeting is ongoing to resolve the matter out of court.

Charges For Infractions

NAFDAC had imposed a one billion Naira fine on Guinness Nigeria Plc “as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of NAFDAC rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time”.

The agency had in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Peter Ndegwa, by the Head, Investigation and Enforcement of NAFDAC, Kingsley Ejiofor, requested for the payment of the one billion Naira, as “administrative charges for infractions such as the destruction activities carried out by the company without the authorisation and supervision of the agency”.

The Agency also accused Guinness of revalidating expired products without authorisation and supervision by NAFDAC, as well as failing to secure the gate of its warehouse as the raw materials used in the production of beer and non-alcoholic beverages by the firm were permanently opened to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which “invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials”.

The brewer was also alleged to have maintained poor documentation records and not complying with conditions contained in the certificate of validation of the revalidated malt extract, which required the storage of the items in cool and dry place and elimination of exposure to sunlight.

Dissatisfied with the one billion Naira fine, Guinness approached the court, asking it to restrain NAFDAC and the Attorney-General of the Federation from enforcing the sanctions pending the determination of the suit.

When the suit came up for mention, counsel to Guinness Plc, Mr Olasupo Shasore, told the court that representatives of Guinness Plc and that of NAFDAC are meeting on the sanctions imposed on the company, adding that he was hopeful the matter could be resolved.

Addressing the court, NAFDAC’s lawyer, Mr O M Abutu, acknowledged that parties met on Monday (December 21) but that he was not privy to what actually transpired at the meeting.

Abutu urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable the Agency reply to the originating process filed by Guinness and for possible out of court settlement of the matter.

In his submission, counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr T. Mokuolu, said he had no objection if parties decided to resolve the issue out of court.

Guinness Plc had in its originating motion prayed the court for an order restraining NAFDAC and the AGF from imposing any sanction on it other than as recocgnised by law and the constitution.

Right To Fair Hearing

The company also asked the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from imposing/or continuing to impose any sanction whatsoever on it.

The applicant is also asking for a declaration that NAFDAC refused to grant it an opportunity to be heard in relation to the allegation.

The company urged the court to declare the fine imposed by NAFDAC null & void, as it violated its right to fair hearing as guaranteed under section 36(1) of the Constitution.

Justice Animahun had in a ruling delivered on December 14 restrained NAFDAC from enforcing the one billion Naira fine, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The substantive suit has been adjourned till February 8, 2016 for mention.

NAFDAC To Increase Punishment For Drug Counterfeiters

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it is reviewing the current law which stipulates a fine of N500, 000 or 15-year jail term upon conviction of offenders involved in the sale, distribution, importation and advertisement of counterfeit regulated products.

Addressing a meeting of drug manufactures, importers and distributors in Abuja, the Director, Drug Evaluation and Research of the agency, Pharmacist Hauwa Kyeri announced that the agency is embarking on quality monitoring of medicines in Nigeria especially malaria drugs which are being counterfeited.

She added that the agency is working with all relevant stakeholders in order to reposition the agency in building a regulatory system that is able to respond to current and emerging trends.

This she further said is coming as part of efforts to deter drug counterfeiters from operating in the country

Ban Of Energy Drinks: Rep Denies Taking NAFDAC’s Job

A member of the House of Representatives, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu has said lawmakers, who are pushing for thorough investigations into the contents and effects of consuming energy drinks, are not trying to take over the responsibilities of established regulating bodies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

While speaking on the Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Bush-Alebiosu explained the need for the government to pay more attention to the effects and inherent dangers associated with energy drinks.

Asked if he was expecting a total ban of the drinks or a measure of regulation, he said that the findings of the reseacrh being carried out will determine the appropriate action to be taken.

Mr Bush-Alebiosu, who sponsored the bill on the floor of the House, revealed that he had stopped consuming the potentially harmful drinks ever since he discovered the many health risks involved.

 

Energy Drinks Cause High Blood Pressure, Doctor Warns

The Chief Medical Director Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Wale Oke on Monday said the consumption of energy drinks can cause high blood pressure and such beverage should be treated as drugs.

While speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Dr. Oke said  energy drinks have been able to penetrate the Nigerian market are treated as beverages which is why it does not go through rigorous and extensive research by  National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He said, “These drinks contain caffeine which can cause individuals with health challenges to become hypertensive. Consumption of the drinks can also increase blood pressure or cause abnormal heart rate.”

He revealed that non-sugar energy drinks have been directly linked with blood clot formations in the human body and have been banned in over two European countries.

He opined that Nigerians have embraced the ‘fad’ in order to help them keep awake whilst being ignorant to the internal damages the drinks cause.

He advised that Nigerians should cultivate the habit of visiting the hospital for regular comprehensive tests.