The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has disclosed that in less than one year, it had intercepted at least 200 containers of fake and substandard pharmaceuticals intended to be cleared at the ports and borders.
It noted that this was the result of the revitalization of the Clean Report of Inspection and Analysis (CRIA) scheme set up to establish the quality and safety of regulated products before they are shipped from China and India to Nigeria.
The scheme also prevented the export of over 40 pharmaceutical and food products that failed laboratory analysis into Nigeria.
The agency stated these products could have been consumed by Nigerians with adverse health implications but were intercepted with collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service, other security, and sister agencies.
It, therefore, warned clearing agents and importers to desist from the falsification of NAFDAC documents, as such fraudulent acts will attract stringent legal actions.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning in Abuja at a virtual sensitization workshop for stakeholders in the Export and Import Trade activities at the nation’s ports, which included the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mine, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Customs Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Multinationals amongst others.
In a statement by the Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, Adeyeye said: “We shall take all legal means as an agency set up by the Law of Nigeria to prosecute any erring stakeholder”.
The NAFDAC boss advised importers to desist from entrusting the entire process of clearance of their consignments to the agents, stressing that whenever the agents run into trouble with the regulatory authorities, they would always want to cut corners, leaving the importer in the lurch at the end of a botched transaction as a result of failure to meet the requirements of the Agency.
She advised all importers and clearing agents to ensure that they complete every clearing transaction with NAFDAC up to the point of generation of NAFDAC electronic Release Notices.
Adeyeye reiterated her commitment to the modernization of NAFDAC’s processes and institutionalization of international best practices in the way activities are conducted in the Agency.
“I am happy to state that from wherever in the world, you can process the clearance of your products with NAFDAC without visiting any formation of NAFDAC or Port offices,” she said.
She added that there have been testimonies of persons in the United States, United Kingdom, India, South Africa who have processed their port clearance documentation with NAFDAC and released their goods without physically appearing at any NAFDAC office except where their clearing agent conducts a physical inspection of the products at the ports – ‘which is the only time you meet any officer of NAFDAC’.