NAFDAC gets three-year jail sentence for fake drug dealer –

The National Food and Drug Administration and Control Agency NAFDAC has obtained a three-year prison fine judgment against a falsified drug dealer.

The development is contained in a statement signed by the agency’s resident media consultant, Sayo Akintola, in Lagos on Sunday, saying that a Federal High Court, sitting in Kano last Friday, convicted a 41-year-old man, Innocent Oparah, to three years imprisonment with an option of a fine of 200,000 naira for endangering the lives of innocent consumers by circulating fake medicines.

Akintola further clarified that the court was presided over by Judge Ibrahim Mark under indictment No. FHC/KN/51/2019.

The statement recalls that the convict was charged in court for labeling paracetamol as quinine sulfate and nivaquine (chloroquine) tablets at market D222 Sabon Gari, Kano.

The Earl states: ”That you, Innocent Okparah of Market D222 Sabon Gari, Kano State, on or about October 20, 2018 at the above address within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, was found in possession of forged drugs, namely: Quinine Sulphate and Nivaquine Chloroquine 100mg thus committed an offense contrary to Section 1(a) of the Counterfeit and False Medicines and Unhealthy Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap C34, LEN 2004 and punishable under Section 3 (1) (a) of the same Act”.

innocent Oparah was also prosecuted for unlawfully labeling quinine sulphate and nivaquine chloroquine 100mg in a manner which was false and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 5(a) of the Food and drugs, Cap F32, LFN 2004 and punishable under section 17 of the same law.

The convict was arrested on October 20, 2018 with medicated products and a paracetamol label that was changed to quinine and nivaquine.

The statement reads in part: “In conjunction with members of the National Association of Patent and Patent Medicine Licensees (NAPPMED), NAFDAC officers have had intelligence information on the Sabon Gari market in Kano where the convict was arrested, four boys were seen in his shop changing the labels of paracetamol with that of quinine and the boys confessed that it was Innocent alias INNO who owned the products.

“The boys called Innocent Oparah on the phone, and he then came to meet them at the store where he accepted ownership of the products.

“The analyst found both drugs unsatisfactory for human use because the quinine sulfate content was lower than expected and the manufacturer’s address was not given on the product label. Nivaquine Chloroquine 100Mmg tablet was unsatisfactory as the friability test was out of specification and tablet breakage, Chloroquine content percentage was also below expectation and manufacturer address was incomplete Quinine and Nivaquine are not not registered by NAFDAC.

The presiding judge noted that innocent’s action was contrary to the general welfare of the Nigerian people.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Health Committee, Dr. Tanko Sununu, had sponsored a bill in the National Assembly demanding more punitive penalties for those involved in illicit and adulterated drugs.

In her reaction, NAFDAC Chief Executive Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye praised the judiciary for the judgment, saying it would have a chilling effect on other criminally-minded drug traffickers.

She reiterated her call for a review of the law to discourage Nigerians from engaging in illicit activities that could jeopardize the health of the people.

She also noted with dismay that the provision of the law for drug offenders in the country provided for a weak sentence, stressing the need to review this law for one that prescribes a harsher sentence for drug counterfeiters in the country to to deter others.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye however called on the 9th National Assembly to pass the bill before the end of its term as it is a security related issue.

“Fake and illegal drugs kill people and the judgment that offenders usually get is so insignificant compared to the level of the offense committed.

“To obtain a judgment of months or two or three years of imprisonment is not enough. We must do everything we can to put in place a law that will recommend tougher penalties for drug counterfeiters,” the statement said.

The DG noted that food and medicine were too important in human life to compromise the norm.

She promised that NAFDAC would continue to ensure that those who sell counterfeit and illicit drugs in the country do not go unpunished. She said the agency was more determined and committed than ever in putting in place the necessary measures to save the lives of citizens.

She, however, commended the members of NAPPMED for providing the Agency with intelligence that led to the arrest and prosecution of the convict, while urging other members of the public to emulate the group in providing NAFDAC with information. lives that could lead to the arrest of merchants of death in the country.

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