Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), said in Lagos on Thursday that China was the source of most fake and substandard medicines and food products imported into the country.
NAFDAC also revealed that drug counterfeiters now operated from markets that dealt with other commodities to keep the eyes of law enforcement agencies off their nefarious activities.
Director general of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, said at a press briefing in Lagos on the arrest of one Olisemeka Osefoh in connection with the import of counterfeit medicines worth over N106 million from China: ''The suspect has been interrogated and his statement taken. He confessed to be in business with a cartel based in China where the products were sourced and stored in their warehouse before being shipped to Nigeria. He has also given investigators information on how the medicines were illegally cleared through Tincan Island Port, Lagos. The counterfeit medicines have been sampled against the suspect and he will be prosecuted as soon as investigation is concluded.''
According to the NAFDAC director general, the agency was working closely with the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria to track down the criminal company in China, that connived with the suspect to ship the counterfeit medicines into the country. ''The agency has enjoyed the support and co-operation of the Chinese Embassy in the fight against drug counterfeiting in the country,'' he said.
According to Dr Orhii, operatives from NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, arrested Osefoh, following a tip-off and the raid on a warehouse located at Progressive Traders Market, known for the sales of jewelrry and cosmetic products within Trade Fair Complex, Badagry Expressway in Lagos.
He said, the estimated street value of the counterfeit medicines, including Mycoten Cream and Neurogesic ointment, labelled as manufactured in Nigeria and imported in two 20-feet containers was 106,210,000 nairas.
Dr Ohrii added that the culprit had confessed to having business links with a cartel based in China.
Among the confiscated merchandise are: Skineal Cream, Funbact-A Cream, Rough Rider condom, Iman Luxury Powder and Heal Balm.