‘Beware! Fake wines, gins
In Delta, herbal concoction kills 13 in six months
As Christmas approaches, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued a red alert to Nigerians to be wary of consuming spirits, gins and wines.
Head of the agency in Enugu State, Mr. John Okwori, told newsmen that NAFDAC recently discovered that adulterators of beverage drinks were focusing on the gins and wines ahead of the festive season.
NAFDAC recently seized 11 large cartoons of fake Chelsea Dry Gin labels, worth N64.76 million. The agency also tracked down and confiscated a large number of fake labels of Amarula drinks.
Okwori, a deputy director in NAFDAC, said the agency had commenced a nationwide massive mop-up of these products. “Apart from the tracking of fake labels imported into the country, the agency is currently doing a mop-up of substandard, expired and fake spirits, gins and wines in the market.
“But we need the co-operation of every Nigerian on this issue. Our people should be wary of spirits, gins and wines they buy; they should securitise them to check that NAFDAC numbers, production dates, manufacturers and countries of origin are well spelt out.
“There should be a closer look at the labels to see that they are the normal and regular labels. They should also watch out for the colour of the drink through its container, whether it conforms to the original colour. If there is anything wrong in all these I have mentioned, do not buy the drink.”
Okwori warned that consuming adulterated drinks could damage vital organs. “It can lead to kidney, liver or heart complications as well as diseases, especially when such injurious drinks are consumed in large quantities due to the euphoria of the yuletide season,” he said.
He further urged Nigerians to promptly report to the nearest NAFDAC office about any drink they might suspect to be fake. “Our offices are open for public complaints, enquiries and advice every working day.”
The warning is coming on the heels of The Guardian investigation that in Delta State, 13 people have reportedly been killed in the last six months due to consumption of fake herbal concoction.s
In Alifikede, near Agbor, a victim (names withheld) bought a bottled concoction for malaria treatment after she had visited several hospitals for treatment to no avail.
After allegedly taking the concoction, she developed complication and was subsequently rushed to a hospital in Agbor where she gave up the ghost two days after.
Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Igbinoba, who told The Guardian “doctors discovered that our daughter’s womb was burnt resulting in complication, which led to her death. We have reported to the police but the herbal medicine seller is nowhere to be found in Agbor town.”
To arrest the ugly development, the state government is taking steps to flush out quack herbal practitioners from the state. Dr. Nicholas Azinge, Commissioner for Medicine, noted that herbal pharmacy would be closely monitored with a view to ensuring its genuineness and undoubted standard.
Also, the state government has sought for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative to develop herbal pharmacy in the state by proposing to upgrade the botanic garden in Mosogar to a centre for medicinal plant research and development.
There have been in recent times an upsurge of herbal concoction practitioners in Asaba, Ughelli, Agbor, parts of Warri, Ogwashi-Uku and its environs, selling bottled herbs with attractive inscription and NAFDAC number to woo unsuspecting members of the public looking for quick relief to their failing health.
Reacting, the Police Commissioner in Delta State, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, said no arrest has been made, as the police have not received any formal complaints. He added however that the activities of herbal medicine practitioners are been closely monitored in the state.