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NAFDAC Chief Calls for Urgent Boost in Personnel to Safeguard Public Health

NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, reveals the agency’s need for over 10,000 personnel to effectively fulfill its public health protection mandate, highlighting challenges and recent actions against counterfeit products.

In a recent media briefing held in Lagos, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), emphasized the pressing need for an increase in personnel to uphold public health standards. Adeyeye disclosed that NAFDAC currently operates with a mere 2,000 employees, significantly short of the required 12,000 necessary for the agency to meet its vital responsibilities.

During the event, Adeyeye conveyed the agency’s commitment to addressing new challenges and welcomed any increment in staff, even if gradual. She stated, “We need about 12,000 staff strength. Right now, we have 2,000. It is a long journey, but we will not refuse, even if it is 500 for now. If we get 500 every year, that will help us. We are doing double the work, even as our staff strength is shrinking.”

Speaking about recent crackdowns on counterfeit products, particularly in Abia, Adeyeye shared details of NAFDAC’s extensive operation in Eziukwu Market, exposing a network of illicit factories producing fake and harmful beverages. Counterfeit items included various wines, spirits, and non-alcoholic drinks bearing popular brand names.

She revealed, “Some of the nefarious activities of the counterfeiters included the manufacturing of all kinds of adulterated products, especially different kinds of wine, including Seaman Schnapps, Hennessey, Four Cousins, Carlo Rossi, Jenney, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Schnapps Dry Gin, McDowell’s, Black Labels, Gordons, Martell, Campari, Smirnoff Ice, Eva and Evra non-alcoholic drinks, and Cartel.”

Adeyeye highlighted the disturbing conditions of the discovered shops-turned-factories, describing them as filthy, using water from unhygienic sources, harmful chemicals, saccharin, colorings, dirty recycled bottles, and cloned packaging materials from other brands. The adulteration of alcoholic beverages often involves mixing cheaper sources of sugar and starch, posing severe risks to consumers.

During the operation, NAFDAC destroyed over 1,500 cartons of fake and substandard products, with an estimated street value exceeding N750 million. Ten individuals apprehended at the scene will face charges following a thorough investigation.

Due to the extensive illegality observed in the market, NAFDAC took the unprecedented step of temporarily shutting down the entire market for rigorous regulation. An agreement was reached with stakeholders, and a commitment was signed to prevent the market from being used for such illicit activities in the future.

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