By Gboyega Oni
The Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Professor (Mrs.) Moji Adeyeye is annoyed by the restriction of NAFDAC officials from the export, reefer, vehicle seats and the quaysides thereby hindering the statutory functions of the organisation.
Represented by Professor S. B. Adebayo, Director, Ports Inspection Directorate, at a recent seminar on non-compliance with cargo trade at Apapa, the Director General of NAFDAC expressed the disappointment of the agency over the restriction of its staff from the port.
Adeyeye said that this has been one of the major challenges confronting the organisation in the discharge of its statutory duty, noting that the release of NAFDAC regulated products without recourse to NAFDAC was not proper.
She noted that it is a common practise in the port that a lot of containers with heterogeneous products containing NAFDAC regulated products are being scanned and subjected to physical inspection without notifying NAFDAC of such inspections.
Other challenges, according to the Director General are: non invitation of NAFDAC for physical inspection of overtime cargoes which results in release of NAFDAC regulated products to buyers.
Release of NAFDAC regulated products to bonded terminals without transire information issued to NAFDAC for follow up, which sometimes even with intelligence information are found not to arrive at assigned bonded terminals.
Clearance of pharmaceutical products through unapproved ports and borders outside those designated for clearance of pharmaceuticals.
Release of NAFDAC regulated products after stoppage letters are received by the Nigeria Customs Service and terminal operators.
Refusal to issue On Duty Cards to NAFDAC officers thereby hindering statutory responsibilities
Poor control and restriction of unscrupulous individuals into terminals and warehouses
Loading regulated products from warehouses and stacking area into waiting trucks without examination by officers
Inadequate support and cooperation from terminal operators for NAFDAC regulatory functions and officers
Refusal of port labor workers to offload goods for satisfactory examination of containers
Connivance of container cutters in the examination of containers with the aim of evading NAFDAC officials (Cut and Lock)
As remedies to all these challeges, Adeyeye called for collaboration with NAFDAC in clearance of NAFDAC regulated products by other agencies and cautioned that bonded terminals should notify NAFDAC before movement of NAFDAC regulated products to terminals using transire documents.
She added that it is important for all stakeholders to familiarise with NAFDAC clearance requirements and processes and restriction of ineligible individuals into terminals and warehouses.
“The essence of regulation and control is to ensure that only safe, efficacious, wholesome and quality regulated products reach the consuming public. This is what NAFDAC intends to achieve and would therefore request collaboration with terminal owners and operators in achieving her mandate,” she said.