A Federal High Court in Kano sentenced a 41-year-old man, Innocent Oparah, to three years in prison for endangering the lives of innocent consumers by circulating fake drugs.
Oparah was charged in court for labeling paracetamol as quinine sulfate and nivaquine (chloroquine) tablets at market D222 Sabon Gari, Kano.
The court was presided over by Judge Ibrahim Mark in the case of charge No. FHC/KN/51/2019.
In a statement signed by the resident media consultant of the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday, Oparah was sentenced on Friday to three years with an option of a fine of N200,000.
The first count stated: “that you, Innocent Okparah, on or about October 20, 2018, at the above address in the jurisdiction of this honorable court, were found in possession of false medicines, and have thereby 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 law.”
The statement made available to the punch read in part, “Innocent Oparah was also prosecuted for unlawfully labeling quinine sulfate 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 Act, Cap F32, LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 17 of the same Act.
“The convict was arrested on October 20, 2018 with medicated products and a paracetamol label which was changed to quinine and nivaquine.
“In conjunction with members of the National Association of Patent and Patent Medicine Dealers, agents of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control had, based on intelligence information, entered at 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 aka 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. The analysis report of the Nivaquine Chloroquine 100 Mmg tablet was unsatisfactory as the friability test was out of specification and the tablet broke, the percentage content of chloroquine was also lower than expected and the manufacturer’s address was incomplete. quinine and nivaquine are not registered by NAFDAC.
“The presiding judge noted that innocent’s action was contrary to the general welfare of the Nigerian people.”
Meanwhile, House of Representatives Health Committee Chairman Dr. Tanko Sununu has sponsored a bill in the National Assembly demanding more punitive penalties for those involved in illicit and adulterated drugs.
Praising the judiciary for the judgment meant to deter other criminally-minded drug traffickers, NAFDAC Chief Executive Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye reiterated her call for a review of the law to discourage Nigerians from getting into in illicit trade that is likely to compromise human health.
She noted with dismay that the provision of the law for drug offenders in the country provides for weak sentences, stressing the need for a review of this law for one that prescribes harsher sentences for drug counterfeiters in the country. countries in order to deter others.
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. Obtaining 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 a tougher penalty for drug counterfeiters,” Adeyeye said.
According to her, food and medicine were too important in human life to compromise the standards.
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 to put in place the necessary measures to save the lives of citizens.
She, however, praised NAPPMED members for providing the agency with intelligence that led to the arrest and prosecution of the convict as she urged other members of the public to emulate the group by providing NAFDAC with information. vital information that could lead to the arrest of merchants. deaths in the country.