NAFDAC destroys tramadol, unregistered pharmaceuticals worth N95bn in Benin

NAFDAC destroys tramadol, unregistered pharmaceuticals worth N95bn in Benin
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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC) has disclosed that it has destroyed tramadol 200 MG and above with unregistered pharmaceuticals supplies in the Benin Republic

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye at a media parley on Monday in Abuja disclosed that the street value of the drugs was estimated at N95 billion.

Adeyeye further explained that following an intelligence report from the Presidency, the Agency in 2018 under her leadership directed the Director of Ports Inspection Directorate, Prof. Samson B. Adebayo with the intention of some unscrupulous importers to ship thirty-one (31) containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products including tramadol 200mg and above from India.

While speaking further, Adeyeye said the containers were labelled building materials and for the bonded terminals.

“The Director, Ports Inspection Directorate, working with his Intelligence & 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 under the leadership of Comptroller General (Col.) Ahmed Ali (rtd.). Eventually, twenty-one 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. Out 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”.

Adeyeye further disclosed that four containers never got to Nigeria but were discharged at transhipment 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 them to Cotonou having met resistance from Ghana Food and Drug Agency that NAFDAC already contacted for collaboration to stop the four (4) containers.”

The DG, therefore, said she liaised with the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin at the time, Ambassador Kayode Oguntuase, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the port authority in the Republic of Benin affected the seizure of the five containers on the request of NAFDAC.

“His successor, Ambassador Olukayode O. Aluko never relented in his effort at ensuring that all these five (5) containers are released to NAFDAC for destruction. Meanwhile the other twenty-four containers Some entity took the case to court in Benin that the containers should be brought back to Nigeria.

“This took about one year plus but Ambassador Aluko stayed on the case until the court made the judgement that the containers can be destroyed in Benin.

“Alas, the government of the Republic of Benin eventually agreed to engage with the Nigerian counterparts to carry out the destruction of these containers in Cotonou.

“A team of NAFDAC officers (including Investigation & 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 on 21st and 22nd December 2022.

“This international landmark achievement (that had never been recorded in the history of the two countries and NAFDAC) did not come without the unflinching efforts of the staff of Ports Inspection Directorate in Apapa and Seme Border,” She added.

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