The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control on Friday said it had arrested five suspects for alleged sale of expired products.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Paul Orhii, who was represented by Kingsley Ejiofor, Head of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, made the disclosure in Lagos.
He told a news conference that the suspects were arrested following an intelligence report.
Mr. Orhii said the arrests were made in the last few weeks and that investigation was ongoing.
He said that one Charles Onyekachi was arrested for an alleged counterfeiting of Derica Tomato paste, adding that the product was discovered in Kano and traced to Lagos.
“Onyekachi imported 1x20ft. container from China and shipped to Cotonou, Benin Republic from where it was transported to Kano.
“He has registered products with the agency among which is the Tomatoes paste.
“He now sells his registered brand along with the counterfeit to discredit the popular Derica Tomatoe Paste with an intent to gain market space.
“The quantity and value of the counterfeit released into the market is four times that of his own brand. The counterfeit product is worth N8 million.
“A criminal charge has been filed against him at the Federal High Court, Lagos,” he said.
Mr. Orhii said the agency also arrested two suspects, Tochukwu Ozala and Obiora Ochuba for production, distribution and sale of counterfeit Maxiquine Syrup.
He said the suspects were arrested by the police in Onitsha with four bags of empty bottles of Maxiquine Syrup, four litres of white liquid chemicals, one bottle of unlabelled substance and 12 empty cartons.
He said Mr. Ozala during interrogation claimed that the Maxiquine Syrup belongs to one Emma who is at large.
“On Feb. 12, the same Ozala was arrested for counterfeiting of a popular brand of Codeine containing Cough Syrup.
“The first case is still being investigated when he committed this.
“The suspect is an unrepentant drug counterfeiter, his activities constitute a serious danger to the society and public health.
“He will be prosecuted at the Federal High Court as soon as investigation is concluded.
“Chisom Onwudinjo is the main counterfeiter of the Codeine containing Cough Syrup and he is hereby declared wanted.
“A handsome reward awaits any useful information that can lead to his arrest,” he said.
Mr. Orhii also disclosed the arrest of one Onyekachi Okafor for alleged distribution and sale of counterfeit Renew Cold Water Starch.
He said that Mr. Okafor was arrested in Aba and he had admitted that the consignment was counterfeited in China and supplied to one Arinze Asomnanya.
According to him, appropriate international partners have been contacted for necessary action.
“Okafor and Asomnanya will be arraigned at the Federal High Court, Umuahia,’’ he said.
Mr. Orhii said that another suspect, Victor Ebuka was arrested for allegedly selling expired products, particularly food condiments which included expired Maggi Arome seasoning, Amoy Soy Sauce, Dark and Superior Soy Sauce.
“The Maggi Arome which expired in August 2014 with the following markings — Man: 15/08/2011, Expiry: 15/08/2014 was being re-labelled as Man: 10/10/2013 to Expire on 10/10/2016.
“While the Amoy Soy Sauce has been re-labelled with Best Before January 2018.
“The suspect is being interrogated and he is helping investigators with useful information about his nefarious activities.
“The estimated cost of the counterfeit products evacuated is worth N15 million and the suspect is being arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos,” he said.