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NAFDAC tracks, destroys N95bn tramadol, others in Benin Republic

NAFDAC begins nationwide crackdown on illegal merchants of herbal medicines

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the government of the Republic of Benin tracked and destroyed five containers of tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceutical products estimated at N95 billion.

Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of NAFDAC, disclosing this on Monday in Abuja, said the consignment contained in a 5×40 feet container were originally shipped to Nigeria but intercepted and destroyed in Cotonou on December 21 and 22, 2022.

According to the DG, the tramadol prescription was over 200mg against the approved strength of 50mg and 100mg. She said the strength “can fry the brain of anybody, a strength that has driven some of our children mad.”

Adeyeye explained that the process that led to the destruction of the pharmaceuticals began in August 2018. According to her, “following an intelligence report from the presidency, I directed the director of ports inspection directorate, on the intention of some unscrupulous importers to ship 31 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products, including tramadol 200mg. The containers were labelled building materials and for bonded terminals.

Read also: NAFDAC warns against use, purchase of contaminated syrups

“The director commenced the surveillance and monitoring of the reported containers. Eventually, 21 of the containers were discharged at the Apapa port in Lagos. One container couldn’t be tracked because of a missing container number. Out of the 21 containers, only two had building materials. However, as the importers of the containers became aware that NAFDAC was tracking and monitoring the containers on arrival at the Apapa port and intercepting them, they decided to change their strategy by diverting the remaining away from the Nigerian port. Four containers never got to Nigeria but were discharged at transhipment in Malaysia.

One container was transferred to the Cotonou port in the Republic of Benin while the remaining four were initially diverted to the Tema port in Ghana but later diverted to Cotonou having met resistance from Ghana Food and Drug Agency.

“I then liaised with the ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin at the time, Kayode Oguntuase, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the port authority in the Republic of Benin effect the seizure of the five containers on the request of NAFDAC.

Meanwhile, the other 24 containers were already destroyed in Nigeria.”