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NAFDAC destroys fake wines, other items in Abia

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NAFDAC destroys fake wines, other items in Abia
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, says it has arrested 10 suspects and seized beverages including wines, soft drinks and consumables worth millions of naira in a raid on Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) Aba, Abia State.

According to a statement signed by the Director of the South-east zone of NAFDAC, Martins Iluyomade, the products were confiscated when the agency raided the market earlier in the week,

He said over 1500 cartons of the fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to the agency’s warehouse during the raid which followed several weeks of intelligence gathering and collation of data on the activities of this ‘merchants of death’.

She said the operation was carried out in collaboration with other security agencies in the market to burst the criminal operations taking place there.

“It is worthy of note that this dastard activity has been going on for a long time, and they operate like a cartel, threatening anyone who dares challenge them.

“Some of the nefarious activities of the counterfeiters included the manufacturing of all kinds of adulterated products especially different kinds of wine from a wide variety of brands ranging from Seaman Schnapps, Henessy, Four Cousins, Carlo Rossi, Jenney, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Schnapp Dry Gin, McDowells, Black Labels, Gordons, Martell, Campari, Smirnoff ice, Eva Non-Alcoholic Drink, Evra Non-Alcoholic Drink, Cartel, and others. There is also date revalidation for expired products like Peak milk, Powdered milk, Ketchups, Yoghurt, Coca Cola products, packaging of fake and substandard products, which are later sold to unsuspecting members of the public for consumption.

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“Because of the extensive operation, the agency raided over 240 shops- turned factories where the harmful products were being produced and marketed.

“The shops-turned factories are very filthy, using water from very unhygienic sources, harmful chemicals, saccharin, colouring, dirty recycled bottles, and cloned packaging materials of other brands. The adulteration of alcoholic beverages by criminal elements in the country is done by mixing of cheaper sources of sugar and starch besides grapes or fruit, among other harmful chemicals unsuitable for human consumption.

“Over 1500 cartons of the fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to NAFDAC warehouse. The street value of the confiscated and destroyed fake products is estimated at over seven hundred and fifty million naira only. (N750,000,000). Ten people were arrested on arrival at the scene of the crime and will be charged to court after thorough investigation.

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“Due to the sheer magnitude of illegality going on in the section of the market, NAFDAC had to shut the entire market down for thorough regulatory activity until an agreement was reached with all stakeholders in the market and undertaken signed that the market will never be used for such nefarious activities anymore.

“Drinking adulterated alcohol can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and dizziness, blue tinged or pale skin, irregular or slow breathing, low body temperature, unconsciousness or passing out.

“It can also lead to kidney and liver failure or even DEATH. Methanol, a substance which can be used in fake vodka, may cause permanent blindness. WHO in their Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health estimated that more than three million people died all over the world as a result of alcohol poisoning.

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“Furthermore, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ascertained that one of every 10 cancer cases in Nigeria can be traced to Alcohol and 4.7 percent of overall cancer cases in Nigeria in 2019 can be attributed to consumption of adulterated alcohol.

“While urging Nigerians to remain vigilant, the agency is also tasking consumers to always scrutinize branded drinks to distinguish them from counterfeits before consuming them. NAFDAC wishes to advice that the members of the public should shine their eyes during this yuletide season and think about the “4 Ps” before buying of alcohol:

“Place: Only buy only NAFDAC registered drinks from reputable and licenced retailers, bars and supermarkets.

“Price: If the product is being sold well below its normal price, or doesn’t seem to include normal taxes on liquors, then it is probably fake.

“Packaging: Check for poor quality packaging, spelling mistakes and unusually shaped bottles. Look for the contact information and address of the manufacturer. If it is missing, the alcohol is fake. Inspect the seal on the bottle. If the seal is broken or damaged, then the contents might have been interfered with and are not safe to drink. Check for fake bar codes. If you have an app on your mobile that scans bar codes, scan it and see if it’s listed as the correct product.

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“Product: Beware of bad smells! If it smells like paint stripper or nail polish remover, then it probably is!

“NAFDAC will continue to ensure that the level of counterfeit products nationwide is brought to the nearest minimum so that our people will continue to consume only healthy and safe products. We wish to reiterate that in line with our mandate to rid the county of fake and substandard products, we shall be on the trail of these evil counterfeiters, and bring them to book,” she said.

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the sale of $10,000 to each licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operator nationwide.

This marks the second such intervention this month by the apex bank.

In a circular addressed to the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), the CBN outlined the details of the intervention.

BDCs will be able to purchase dollars at the rate of N1,021 per dollar.

They are, therefore, authorized to sell this forex to eligible end users at a maximum spread of 1.5 percent above the purchase price, translating to a maximum selling price of N1,036.15 per dollar.

On the 8th of April 2024, the CBN sold $10,000 FX to each of the 1,588 participating BDCs at a fixed rate of N1101 per US dollar at a spread capped at 1.5 percent above the purchase price from the CBN (approximately N1,116.15 per dollar). This limited the potential profit BDCs could make on each transaction

The latest circular has instructed all eligible BDCs to commence immediate payment of the Naira equivalent for their allocated $10,000 into designated CBN Naira Deposit Accounts.

This deposit must be accompanied by the submission of necessary documentation to facilitate the disbursement of forex at respective CBN branches.

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The latest intervention by the CBN is likely to be met with cautious optimism by market participants. The continued injection of US dollars into the BDC segment aims to improve access to forex for legitimate transactions, potentially alleviating some pressure on the parallel market.

However, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges on several factors: the extent to which the allocated amount meets the current demand for forex remains to be seen; strict adherence to the stipulated maximum selling price by BDCs is crucial for ensuring transparency and preventing market distortions; and while stop-gap measures like these can provide temporary relief, addressing the underlying causes of FX scarcity is essential for achieving long-term market stability.

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The CBN’s recent actions since February 2024 highlight its ongoing efforts to manage forex liquidity and ensure the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market.

The success of this strategy will depend on continued monitoring, adjustments as needed, and fostering a more market-driven approach to FX allocation in the long run.(NATION)

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge
Emefiele

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a fresh charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

EFCC in the charge accused Emefiele of approving the printing of N684,590,000 at the rate of N18.96 billion.

In the charge sighted by PUNCH Online on Tuesday, EFCC alleged that Emefiele broke the law with intent to harm the public during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The document dated April 2, 2024, and marked Suit No: CR/264/2024, was filed by EFCC’s top prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN revealed that Emefiele will be arraigned on a new four-count charge before Justice Hamza Muazu bordering on disobeying the law to punish Nigerians, iilegal printing of money, abuse of office, among others.

Counts one to four of the charge, read, “STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: Public Servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

“PARTICULARS OF THE OFFENCE: That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“COUNT 3: “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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“COUNT 4: “That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Recall that Emefiele was on November 18, 2023, arraigned before the court on six counts of procurement fraud, in what is the most high-profile corruption case under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He was also accused of abusing his office by approving a contract for the acquisition of 43 vehicles totalling N1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the EFCC arraigned the former banker alongside one Henry Omoile before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud. (PUNCH)

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name – Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name - Kogi Assembly tells EFCC
• Embattled former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello
Kogi House of Assembly has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the ‘wanted’ tag it placed on the name and picture of the immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday and follows a matter of urgent public importance presented on the floor of the House by the member representing Ajaokuta Constituency, Hon Jibrin Abu.

Their resolutions made available to newsmen on Tuesday read: “The EFCC, IGP, Immigration, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish the image of personalities from Kogi State, especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not constitute a threat to internal security or treasonable felony.”

Earlier in his motion, titled,: “A call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Abu lamented the anti-graft agency had been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor for a long time.

“The recent reports on the print, electronic and social media had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process by Nigeria’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens, and by extension, Nigerians. Kogi State, over the years, has witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government and officials.

“This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a non-existent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right thinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendetta.

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“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over the allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja.

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“The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“A point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

“Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support,” he stated.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

Former Deputy Speaker Hon. Enema Paul told the anti graft agency to respect the rule of law.

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He said: “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

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“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if he is really qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in Appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has a lot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days.”

Speaker Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti-graft agency not to act contrary to the law of the country.

“This House is not against the EFCC doing their job but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The country belongs to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law,” he stated.

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