National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has arrested a man for dealing on fake and unregistered products and for the relabelling of expired
Determined to check the menace of fake drugs and counterfeit products in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has arrested one Mr. Ebuka Okeke, owner of Ebuka Ventures, for dealing on fake and unregistered products and for the relabelling of expired ones.
Ebuka, according to the agency, was caught in the very act of relabelling the expired food products at Ebuka Ventures located at Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, by a team of officials of Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC, while on their routine surveillance in the area. The products included a seasoning liquid, Maggi Arome, Amoy Dark Soy Sauce and Costa Corned Beef, which he purchased from Ghana.
For the Costa Corned Beef, whether expired or not, the 24- year old suspect, changed their labels to Exeter Corned Beef. According to him, this was to make consumers patronise the corned beef because having the name Costa does not attract much consumers as much as Exeter does. Asked why he was changing their labels, he said: “When the products got expired in my hands, in order to recoup my money, I decided to change the products’ details.”
On the people he supplies the products to, Ebuka who said he has been in the business for over six years now, said retailers come to his shop to buy them. Meanwhile, some of the fake relabelled products found in his shop, were confiscated by NAFDAC though some of them had already been supplied to the market.
Addressing newsmen shortly after his arrest, NAFDAC’s Assistant Director, Enforcement Operations , Shaba Mohammed, said, Ebuka had two large containers filled with waters with which he use to immerse the fake products so that their labels can pill off without anyone noticing it and to also enable him paste the new labels on them.
According to him,: “ These food products were smuggled into the country from Ghana, they have expired and he relabelled them and had pushed some of them into the Nigerian market. The information we got from him, is that he had 1000 cartons of the Maggi Arome seasoning liquid. He had sold about 902 cartons.
What he has left is 98 cartons of 138mlx28.” Worse still, Mohammed said the products that Ebuka was relabelling were not registered with the agency. Mohammed explained:”He is changing their manufacturing and expiry dates. He changed the expiry date from 2014 to 2015.Some of these products, even if they were registered with the agency; they are products that cannot be consumed because they are expired. So, these products are unregistered, they have expired and he is changing the date.”
On the health implications of consuming such unwholesome products, he noted:” The risk is that, we will begin to see increase in diseases that are actually unknown to us like liver and kidney failures which are on the rise.
To make product and drug counterfeiting a serious offence in Nigeria, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, said that the agency is reviewing its laws, with a view to making convicted fake drug and product dealers spend the rest of their lives in jail.