Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice-President has directed the country’s agency for food and drug administration and control, NAFDAC, to return to the ports immediately as part of the presidential enabling business environment council (PEBEC) reforms.
The agency said it received the notice Wednesday via a letter from the office of the vice-president.
The order to return to the ports was to effectively control the importation of unregulated products, falsified and substandard drugs, unwholesome foods, narcotic drugs and hazardous chemical substances and foods, NAFDAC said.
Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC director-general, said that the drug abuse among youths is fuelled by the unlawful importation of certain banned substances.
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“NAFDAC in collaboration with relevant ministries, departments and agencies and with the active support of the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the presidential enabling business environment council, and the ministry of transport, has been returned to the seaports and borders to effectively control importation of unregulated products, falsified and substandard drugs, unwholesome foods, narcotic drugs and hazardous chemical substances and foods,” the statement read.
Adeyeye had said recently that thousands of Nigerians had died as a result of falsified and substandard medicines. She had further stated that many were ill, most likely due to unwholesome foods, drugs and abuse of narcotics and controlled substances, such as codeine, tramadol and pentazocine.
She said, “These are partly due to the exclusion of NAFDAC from our ports since 2011. The recent documentary on codeine abuse brought more attention to the issue.”
Adeyeye said the agency is ready to work with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other sister agencies in ensuring that foods, drugs, chemicals and other NAFDAC regulated products that pose danger to Nigerians were controlled at the point of entry.
In 2011, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister for finance and coordinating minister for the economy, had ordered regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Agricultural Quarantine Services to exit the ports, saying the action is aimed at reducing the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports as well as eliminating delay.