By Godfrey Ofurum.
A socio-political youth group in Nigeria’s South-East geopolitical zone has raised alarm over the influx of substandard drugs and other goods into the local markets.
The group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), observed that consumption of such unhealthy products by unsuspecting Nigerians has increased mortality rate in the country.
COSEYL, in a statement signed by Goodluck Ibem, its president general, said government agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting Nigerians against fake and sub-standard products should take some blame for the importation of fake and sub-standard products into the country.
It specifically mentioned tthe National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), saying some officials of these agencies sit by and allow safe passage to such substandard products.
COSEYL observed that many drugs and other products imported into Nigeria from other countries are far below the approved international standards, yet they are approved and certified good consumption by government officials.
“In Nigeria today, used or fairly used goods from overseas are valued and more expensive than new goods produced and imported into Nigeria. The standard of Nokia phones used in London is superior and of higher quality than new Nokia phones imported into Nigeria,” the group claimed.
“A sick person will buy drugs as prescribed by a physician, but after consuming the drugs, the patient will not be healed of the sickness or disease,” it lamented.
The group asked the government to fish out the officials responsible for the approval of substandard drugs and goods imported into the country and punish them accordingly.
“Cases of kidney failure, heart disease, liver disease and failure of other vital organs in the body are on the increase in Nigeria because of intake of fake and sub-standard drugs. Nigerians with minor health challenges are sent to their early graves because of intake of fake and sub-standard drugs,” COSEYL said.
The group said the time of late Dora Akunyili as director-general of NAFDAC saw a reduction in the importation of fake and sub-standard drugs into the country and argued that the gains of those years have been reversed.
It demanded a probe of the agencies involved, stressing that any official found culpable of aiding the importation and clearance of fake and sub-standard drugs and goods should be made to face justice.