In its continued fight against fake drugs in the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has arrested Mr. Obumnene Okpala, who is a recalcitrant and non-remorseful syndicate that specializes in importation, distribution, warehousing and sales of suspected counterfeit and adulterated insecticides.
The arrest, which was made possible through the efforts of whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government, is a major step in the agency’s resolve to sustain the fight against counterfeit and smugglers of NAFDAC regulated products.
According to the Acting Director General NAFDAC, Ademola Mogbojuri who addressed newsmen on the activities of the agency in Lagos ,he noted that the records of the agency reveals that Mr Okpala aka Okanu who stays at Block 188,plot 2054, Amuwo Odofin Lagos State , in 2015 imported fake and unwholesome 1x40ft container of Kilit Insecticide through Onne port in Port Harcourt ,Rivers State.
He said that the products was forfeited for destruction and he wrote a Notarized undertaking that he would not engage in the importation and distribution of fake , unwholesome and adulterated NAFDAC regulated product again. But while investigation is still ongoing in the aforementioned case and to our utmost surprise, Mr. Obumnene Okpala engaged in a different tactics.
The DG said that the agency has been on the trail of this importer of fake, unwholesome and adulterated insecticide in the market.
He revealed that following a tip off by a concerned citizen, a team of NAFDAC investigation and enforcement officers were directed to carry out proper investigation into the intelligence report on the facility of Mr Okapala, on arrival at the premises on October 13, 2017, around 2pm, the team met only the security personnel, as the occupant (Mr Okpala) was not around at the time of visitation.
He added that the facility which was a duplex with a boy’s quarter was scrutinized and it was observed that several cartons of Kilit insecticide and Read-A-Dream insecticide was stalked in the main building while the boy’s quarters was stalked with several cartons of Royal Dream Insecticide.
The NAFDAC team placed a call on Obumneme Okpala whose phone number was available through intelligence report and he was informed of the team’s presence in the building. All effort to make him come and make the building accessible proved abortive as he claimed to be far away. He was informed that the building will be placed on hold since proper investigation could not be done. And he was informed that an invitation will be left for him through his security personnel. However, two samples of each of the products were taken.
On the night of October 13, 2017 , an informant revealed to NAFDAC Enforcement officers that the same facility previously place on hold had been broken into by the suspect at exactly 9pm. NAFDAC team and men of the Nigerian Police force were swiftly dispatched to the facility, as at the time of arrival the padlock to the entrance gate has been broken and all the fake products carted away.
However, the team went in hot chase of the two trucks used in conveying the products but could not locate it. The team quickly changed strategy and laid siege in the building. At about 3am, the suspect drove into the premises with another vehicle that has siren to evacuate some of the other products in the boy’s quarters, and was immediately apprehended by the team. The mastermind and his escort driver have been arrested and will be prosecuted accordingly.
The items recovered include: 1,539 cartons of Royal Dream and 32 Cartons of Kilit Insecticide were evacuated and taken to NAFDAC Oshodi office. Also , trailing the other products , detectives tracked and traced to 6th Avenue, 67, cavera road, Festac Town. Further, 333 cartons of Read-A- Dream and 281 cartons of kilit insecticide were evacuated to NAFCDAC office.
The DG reported that the market value of the product recovered is over N50m and was imported from China. He promised to work with NAFDAC international partners to reach the manufacturers of the products in China for proper sanctions.
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