The Presidency has directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to return to the seaports and borders to effectively control the importation of substandards products into the country.

The directive which was issued from the office of His Excellency, the Vice-President, as part of the PEBEC reforms, required that the agency should work in collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) and with the active support of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), and Ministry of Transport in furtherance of its mandate.

Specifically, NAFDAC is to combat the importation of unregulated products, falsified and substandard drugs, unwholesome foods, narcotic drugs and hazardous chemical substances and foods.

A statement by the agency’s Director General, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, on the directive indicated that thousands of Nigerians had died as a result of falsified and substandard medicines while many are currently ill most likely due to unwholesome foods, drugs and abuse of narcotics and controlled substances, such as codeine, tramadol and pentazocine, amongst others.

She stated: “These are partly due to exclusion of NAFDAC from our ports since 2011. The recent documentary on codeine abuse brought more attention to the issue.

“Aside from the dangers posed to public health, involvement of our youths in abuse of drugs weakens our national development, economy and nation building as a result of accompanied side effects of abuse, i.e., disruption of life goals, ideals and families. Moreover, the threat to our national security, due to criminality and terrorism that often result from such abuse is obvious”, the NAFDAC boss added.

According to her, the need for return of NAFDAC officials to the ports and borders has been emphasized in different fora by the new NAFDAC’s DG but received a boost in the Communique issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser at the end of the National Chemical Security Training Conference in Abuja on 16th March, 2018.

The theme of the conference was “Towards a Secured Importation, Distribution, Storage and Use of Chemicals in Nigeria”.

The NAFDAC leader commended the Office of the NSA, the Chemical Society of Nigeria, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), the Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN) and other key stakeholders for recognizing NAFDAC as a key player in the national security architecture which helped in restoring the agency’s officials to all designated ports of entry and land borders.

She assured: “Our Agency will work with the Nigerian Customs Service, The Shippers Council and other sister agencies in ensuring that foods, drugs, chemicals and other NAFDAC regulated products that pose danger to our population are controlled at the point of entry. “

“NAFDAC at the ports will ensure that dangerous drugs or substances of abuse, many times falsely shipped as building materials, electrical appliances, computer accessories, etc. will be intercepted at the point of entry.

“In addition, the presence of NAFDAC at the ports and borders will reduce significantly the evasion of payments of statutory fees for importation of regulated products, thus increasing the Agency’s internally generated revenue and that of the federal government”, Prof. Adeyeye added.