Men of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control have arrested 10 suspects over adulterated beverages as the agency shut down the Cemetery Market in Aba, Abia State.
The Director, South-East Zone of NAFDAC, Martins Iluyomade, disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday during a raid of the market which began on Monday.
He said the suspects in Cemetery Market occupy over 240 shops meant for traders which they turned into production centres for large-scale adulteration of beverages and drugs.
“What’s happening here at Cemetery Market, Aba is worse than Boko Haram. We saw how many shops were converted into manufacturing centres for all manner of wines, expensive drinks, and revalidation of the expiry date of products.
“We have the cooperation of the state government and so far we have discovered 240 shops used for this illegal manufacturing of fake consumables and about 10 persons have been arrested and the arrests are still ongoing”, he said and ordered the temporary shutdown of the market.
He disclosed that the agency got information about the illegal activities involving adulteration of known beverage brands in the market by a large number of persons in the market, stating that after doing some background checks, the agency discovered that “horrendous things” were happening there, and decided to carry out the operation without involving its Abia office.
He added, “Four trailers cannot carry the fake products we moved out from here. It shows the extent we have gone so bad as a country and the extent of dangers these people are creating.
“No wonder we have all manners of health issues and the funny thing is that we use our money to buy this evil. Our Director-General is not leaving any stone unturned in getting rid of fake products in our market.
“I will suggest that this market be shut down for now until we sanitise this market for a while. We have written to appropriate authorities to that effect and we think it is the right thing to do because when people are around, everywhere is rowdy.”
Reacting, the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders frowned at the development, describing it as “man’s inhumanity to man”, advising that the matter must not be treated with kid gloves.
Leader of COSEYL, Mr Goodluck Ibem, who spoke to newsmen called on the National Assembly to amend the constitution with capital punishment attached to producing adulterated products and its sale and similarly, called on the Abia State Governor, Alex Otti to cooperate with NAFDAC in the state to ensure that the Cemetery Market is sanitized, and bad eggs are sent out, while genuine business people are encouraged to do their lawful businesses.
According to the Aba Unit of the Civil Liberties Organisation, the situation is terrorism with the perpetrators being the terrorists who should be properly dealt with by the agency.
Chairman of the CLO in Aba, Dr Charles Chinekezi, charged officials of NAFDAC and other law enforcement agencies to be aware of fake, substandard and expired products and to be more serious in dealing with perpetrators of such acts, noting that the attitude of the agency if changed, will go a long way in determining if such activities will continue or stop.
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