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Nigerian importers sue NAFDAC over alleged arbitrary charges

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NAFDAC OFFICE

NAFDAC OFFICE

THE Incorporated Trustees of the Amalgamated Association of Nigeria Importers has filed a suit before a Federal High Court, Lagos against the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) over alleged imposition of unlawful charges.

The plaintiff filed the suit through their counsel, Mr. Emma Ofoegbu.

In their originating summons, the plaintiff is praying the court for a declaration that the defendant is not entitled to impose and/or collect tariff charges that are over and above the tariff charges prescribed in the NAFDAC Tariff charges Regulations, which is a subsidiary legislation made under the NAFDAC Act, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, for service it renders in respect of goods and products it regulates, administers and controls.

They also want a declaration that the defendant is not empowered, authorized and entitled under NAFDAC Act, laws of federation, 2004, to force, intimidate and blackmail the plaintiffs into paying fees of between $500 – $2,500 or any amount to a private Chinese company appointed by the defendant for inspecting goods and products in China before their shipment in Nigeria, and on their arrival in Nigeria, the same defendant imposes and/or collects from the importers of the same products and goods another round of tariff charges for inspecting and analyzing the same products and goods again.

In addition, the plaintiff wants the court to declare that the failure to pay the aforementioned fees to the private Chinese company appointed by the defendant shall not attract any penalty and/or additional charges for inspecting and analyzing the products and goods when they arrive in Nigeria other than the normal tariff charges for inspecting and analyzing the products as prescribed in the NAFDAC Tariff charges Regulations as well as an order of injunction to restrain the defendant from continuing to impose and collect tariff charges that are higher, over and above the tariff charges that are prescribed in the NAFDAC Tariff charges Regulations, for services it renders in respect of the products and goods it regulates.

The originating summon is supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr. Ogedi Ogu, a legal practitioner at the law firm of the plaintiff’s counsel.

Ogu swore that the acts of the defendant are continuous and continuing in each occasion the defendant renders its services.

“The defendant is simply exploiting the plaintiffs and extorting money from them under the pretext, disguise and colour of carrying out its activities with a threat to blacklist anyone as a dealer in fake products and goods who complain about its acts complained above”, he averred.

He also outlined the exact charges the importers were supposed to pay to the defendant, adding that the prevailing charges have not been repealed.

The deponent also stated among other things that the illegal and excessive tariff charges are very harmful and inimical to the interest of Nigerians in that they add to the cost of the products and goods, making them unaffordable to Nigerians who the defendant professes to be serving.


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