Tuesday, 02 September 2014 15:26


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Operatives of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC today stormed the New Central market and the old market in Katsina metropolis in what they described as ongoing nationwide mop up action to sanitize Nigerian markets and rid them of banned and illegally imported regulated products.

The operation to seize unregistered products in the two markets began simultaneously around 11.00 am when several vehicles with NAFDAC operatives, security personnel and journalists made their way into the markets.

The latest action which is in line with the country’s move towards protecting and increasing the consumption of vitamin A fortified food led to the uncovering of imported and unregistered products such as macaroni, spaghetti, vegetable oil, sugar, salt among others worth millions of naira in about twelve shops screened in both markets.

Speaking with journalists during the operation, Mr. Bitrus Fraden, Assistant Director (Enforcement) and leader of the team, maintained that NAFDAC was only carrying out its routine responsibility to measure the level of compliance with its guidelines against importation, stocking and sale of banned food products. According to him, “If we are unable to stop them at the (nation’s) borders due to a number of factors, we are duty bound to stop them from in-side and that is what we are doing. It is part of our mandate to ensure that what is on sale even inside the markets should be with approval of NAFDAC,” he, said.

He attributed the operation to an earlier surveillance which revealed that quite a lot of the products concerned in the markets came into the country illegally and they posed health risk to the citizens.

His words:  “What we discovered is that a lot of sugar came in illegally and a lot of macaroni’s and spaghetti or pastries came in illegally and these things do not conform to guide-lines and regulations”.

He added:  “We have discovered plenty; we have discovered unfortified sugar and illegally imported vegetable oil”, adding that government in banning importation of the products was not only convinced that the country had the capacity to produce them and meet local demand but to protect the indigenous companies and generate employment for the teeming population.

On the penalty for offenders, Fraden said it should have been outright seizure and destruction but because the agency wanted to trace the products to the source (importers), the operatives won’t disclose the final punishment. “When we take the inventory, we put our 'hold label' (Don’t sell) – which means they are not permitted to sell them again. Based on further interrogation and investigation, we will know what the next step is,” he assured.

        He therefore urged traders in the markets to buy only genuine products from manufacturers or distributors to avoid unpleasant consequences.

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