BY: CHIOMA UMEHA
In a renewed vigour aimed at strengthening consumer’s confidence in their choice of regulated products in the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has embarked on a massive raid and enforcement operations of major supermarkets, open markets and suspected warehouses in the Lagos area.
The exercise spearheaded by the Enforcement Directorate of the Agency and led by one Mrs. Ijeoma Nzeaka, a Chief Regulatory Officer, took the team to the popular Oke-Arin, Balogun, Idumota, Mushin and Oshodi markets, Trade Fair Complex stalls as well as major supermarkets located in Apapa, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Ajah and their environs. Apart from the markets, some suspected warehouses in Isolo, Badagry expressway and motor garages and loading parks were also visited.
During the exercise, products of various ranges worth over N50 million were confiscated with the warehouses sealed and three trailers suspected to be loaded with unregistered regulated products were equally impounded. The three-day exercise which took most of the shop owners by surprise coupled with the presence of journalist and stern looking security operatives was a huge success. Commenting on the exercise in a brief chat with journalists in his office, the Director, Enforcement Directorate of the Agency, Mr. Garba Macdonald explained that it was part of NAFDAC’s routine activity to visit markets, to ascertain the level of compliance of the products in circulation.
However, he said that it was imperative to storm the locations in the fashion his officers did because the surveillance earlier carried out which indicted the places visited. Mr. Garba further confirmed that the products confiscated would be subjected to further laboratory analysis before final decision could be taken. On the fate of those arrested during the exercise, he said that they would be interrogated to help the agency unravel the sources of the suspected products into the country.
According to him, “field reports indicated that most of the products were smuggled into the country from the neighbouring countries and those arrested or invited will be of help to furnish us with useful information that will assist to forestall future occurrence.” The Director who was full of appreciation for his officers for the successful operation also praised Nigerians for the cooperation they have continued to give to NAFDAC through the provision of information of suspected locations of illegal activities on NAFDAC’s regulated products.
He therefore promised that with the Lagos experience, the exercise would be extended to every nook and crannies of the country, just as he warned that those caught on the wrong side of the law would not be spared.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 10, 2013.