Following the mind boggling seizure of two 40ft trucks of substandard drugs intercepted by the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Director of Investigations, National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Mr. Ejiofor Kingsley, has said that importers of fake and substance drugs into Nigeria will get life imprisonment once the National Assembly approves a bill by the agency seeking for such punishment.
He disclosed this in a chat with Sunday Vanguard, during the inspection of the Customs warehouse at Ikeja, where the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, handed over 1,442 cartons of drugs seized by his officers through intelligence network in Lagos.
Kingsley also the Chairman of Taskforce on counterfeiting drugs said, “Now 15years imprisonment or a fine of 500.000 is the current punishment for such offence, and it is not severe enough because taking fake drugs is like giving people poison. Imagine if the officers of FOU had not intercepted this huge quantity of substandard drugs, the dangers innocent Nigerians will be exposed to in buying such drugs. At present, we have over 60 cases fake drugs related issues in court. In Port Harcourt recently we had similar seizure of substandard drugs. In 2017 alone, we have recorded seizures of fakes drugs worth over N11billion. You can see the huge quantity and the health implications involved in this deadly act”.
Also speaking, the CAC said, “The seizure of the fake drugs was made possible through the resilience of our officers who foiled the antics of smugglers notwithstanding their methods of concealment. This shows the commitments of CGC Ali Hameed and his management team in continually repositioning the Service for greater effectiveness. Influx of fake drugs is a deadly trend that must be taken seriously because millions of lives of Nigerians are involved”.
Sunday Vanguard observed that the substandard pharmaceutical products concealed in different cartons include Tramadol 120mg, Diclofenac Potassium tables 50mg made from India and many other drugs. The items were fully loaded in trucks with registration number RRU 513 XA, LSR 99 XK and container number MSKU 9883956. The method of concealment looked so sophisticated and would require a thorough search to detect the real contents.