NAFDAC, Republic of Benin destroy N95 billion worth of Tramadol, unregistered pharmaceuticals
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the government of the Republic of Benin have destroyed Tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceuticals worth about N95 billion.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this during a briefing in Abuja on joint international destruction of 5 X 40 Feet Containers of unregistered Pharmaceuticals including Tramadol 200mg and higher strength.
She said that a team of NAFDAC officers including Investigation and Enforcement Directorate officers, led by the Director of Ports Inspection Directorate, Prof. Samson Adebayo, travelled to Cotonou where the destruction of the five containers took place on December 21 and 22 2022.
She stressed that the destruction exercise was an international landmark achievement that had never been recorded in the history of the two countries and NAFDAC and the success did not come without the unflinching efforts of the staff of Ports Inspection Directorate in Apapa and Seme Border.
Adeyeye recalled that following an intelligence report from the Presidency, the agency, in August 2018, directed Prof. Adebayo on the intention of some unscrupulous importers to ship 31 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products including tramadol 200mg and above from India adding that the containers were labeled building materials and for bonded terminal.
She said: “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. Four containers never got to Nigeria but were discharged at trans-shipment 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 to Cotonou having met resistance from Ghana Food and Drug Agency that NAFDAC, already contacted for collaboration to stop the four containers”, Mojisola said.
Adeyeye stated that NAFDAC liaised with the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin at the time, Kayode Oguntuase, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the port authority in the Republic of Benin effected the seizure of the five containers on the request of NAFDAC, adding that his successor, Olukayode Aluko never relented in effort at ensuring that all these five containers are released to NAFDAC for destruction.
“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 judgment 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”, she added.
She commended President Muhammadu Buhari for returning NAFDAC to the ports in May 2018 after seven-year absence, stressing that it was the return of NAFDAC to the ports that made the four and a half years monitoring of unregistered pharmaceuticals, including tramadol to be possible.