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Counterfeit drugs: N/East stakeholders task NAFDAC, others on awareness creation



Counterfeit drugs: N/East stakeholders task NAFDAC, others on awareness creation

Pharmacists and other stakeholders in the Northeast have called for more awareness campaigns to combat the circulation of counterfeit and falsified pharmaceuticals in the country.

The experts said the call was imperative to educate the people on the dangers of fake drugs and safeguard public health.

They spoke while responding to a survey on circulation of fake drugs and chemicals in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola.

A pharmacist in Yobe, Mr. Madu Ali said effective strategies were necessary to strengthen drug regulatory agencies to enable them to combat circulation of falsified drugs in the country.

He defined a fake drug as any drug that does not contain active ingredients but packaged to look like a genuine product.

The expert listed the effects of fake drugs to include disease progression, organ failure and prolonged duration of treatment.

Ali, also the Head, Pharmaceutical Services, Specialists Hospital, Damaturu, said strengthening the agencies would enhance their operations to ensure that only genuine drugs were in circulation in the country.

“If you strengthen the drugs management agencies, you will improve their capabilities from mere physical inspection of drug colours to full-fledged laboratory investigation,” he said.

He said there was an urgent need to ban drug hawking and caution members of the public against patronising open drug markets.

Ali noted that although many suspected fake drugs were in circulation, the anomaly could only be confirmed by formal research.

Recounting her ordeal; Mrs. Josephine Audu, a victim of fake drugs in Gombe State, urged NAFDAC to intensify campaigns to check circulation of counterfeit drugs and chemicals in the country.

Audu noted that fake drugs caused adverse side effects rather than providing remedies to diseases.

“I took a brand of Septrin tablet and developed skin rashes afterward.

“I alongside six other females became ill and hospitalised after using the drug,” and urged relevant authorities to step up the campaign to curb the menace.

To buttress the claim, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Borno has raised alarm over circulation of fake agricultural chemicals in the state.

NAFDAC’s State Coordinator, Jamil Audu said the Agency seized counterfeit agrochemicals in series of raids at markets in Maiduguri metropolis.

He said unsuspecting farmers used the chemicals for crop production and preservation in spite of associated health risks and environmental hazards.

“The discoveries are alarming as some people engaged in bad practices.

“The Agency is conducting an awareness campaign as one of the veritable regulatory mechanisms to safeguard public health.

“We are sensitising marketers, herbal medicine practitioners, water and food processors to effectively regulate their activities,” he said.

He said the Agency had scaled up sensitisation activities through Consumer Safety Clubs in schools to educate them on how to detect unregistered products.

The campaign, he said, was part of strategies adopted by the Agency to protect the people against unwholesome food, falsified drugs and harmful cosmetics.

According to him, the seized items will be destroyed after laboratory analysis.

In the same vein; Mathias Buba, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) activist, attributed high cases of treatment failure to the consumption of fake drugs.

He said falsified drugs are deadly resulting in organ damage and worsening chronic diseases such as renal failure and liver cirrhosis.

Buba, therefore, advocated practical measures to regulate drugs import and urged indigenous pharmaceuticals to adopt measures to make their products accessible.

In Adamawa; the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), said it had seized and destroyed counterfeit drugs worth over N110 million.

The Chairman of the association in the state, Mr. Ibrahim Talba said the exercise was part of comprehensive campaign to combat fake drugs.

“We usually conduct routine inspection to remove and destroy expired drugs.

“Most of the drugs expired or not certified by NAFDAC,” he said.

However, Dr. Kabir Ibrahim, Executive Secretary, Jigawa Primary Healthcare Development Agency (JSPHCDA), maintained that 100 percent of drugs had been certified in public health facilities across the state.

“In Jigawa, 100 percent of drugs in public health facilities are genuine.

“We have made it a policy that all public health facilities must procure drugs from the Jigawa Medical Supply Organisation (JIMSO),” Ibrahim said.

He said JIMSO procured drugs directly from manufacturers and supplied to healthcare facilities in the state.

The Agency, he said, subjected drug manufacturers to screening, including inspection of manufacturing plants, medicine manufacturing protocols and compliance with medical formulae.

According to him, the agency also engages manufacturing companies in quality improvement, talks and discussions and on-the-job supervision to ensure the supply of genuine drugs.


Health and Safety

EFCC secures 166 convictions, recovers N1.4bn in Kano; Student docked for alleged threat to life, stabbing another with bottle



EFCC secures 166 convictions, recovers N1.4bn in Kano

 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kano Zonal Command, said it secured 166 convictions and recovered N1.4 billion in 2022.

The Zonal Commander of EFCC, Mr. Farouk Dogondaji, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit by Head of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) office in Kano State, Aminu Garko, on Thursday in Kano.

“In 2022 the commission investigated, prosecuted, secured 166 convictions and recovered N1.4 billion in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa. We still have pending cases in court.

“The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has given all Nigerians the opportunity to report cases of economic and financial crime.

“EFCC Chairman, Mr. Abdulrashid Bawa, brought a lot of changes and policies among which is the development of EFCC strategic plan to improve public participation in the fight against corruption.

“Fighting corruption is for all of us Nigerians. We have to put our hands together to push our country forward,” Dogondaji said.

He noted that the issue of corruption in Nigeria was of great concern to all patriotic citizens, and as such various stakeholders must work together to tame it, especially as the country goes into election.

“Citizens have to know what corruption has done to Nigeria so that when they go to cast their votes, they vote for credible Nigerians. Even as citizens, we have a duty to Nigeria,” he said.

He commended NAN for its zeal to partner with the commission to win the war against corruption.

Earlier, the head of the Kano state NAN office said corruption has been the major problem militating against the smooth implementation of government policies and programmes that would impact the well-being of the populace.

“Fighting corruption is like fighting a war among communities, we cannot move forward without fighting corruption,” he said.

Garko called for synergy between NAN and the EFCC in the ongoing fight against corruption in the country. 

In another development, a 26-year-old student, Victor Adegbulugbe, was on Friday docked in an Ogudu Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, for allegedly stabbing another with a broken bottle on the head and back.

The police charged Adegbulugbe, who resides at Kazeem Street, Ojota, Lagos, with count bordering on assault, threat to life, grievous confrontation and breach of peace.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Insp Donjor Perezi, had told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Jan. 19, 2023, at about 9 a.m. at Muwazani hotel, located on No 22 Ogudu road, Ojota, Lagos State.

Perezi told the court that the defendant stabbed one Akeem Adebare, during an altercation and threatened the lives of Sharon Eunkoroh and Ibrahim Adebare that he would kill them with a gun.

He said that the offences contravened the provisions of Section 175, 56 (1)(a), 168 and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

According to section 173, anyone found guilty of the offence will be liable to three years imprisonment

The Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Tanimola, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000, with two sureties in like sum.

She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and must show evidence of tax payments to Lagos Government.

Tanimola adjourned the case until Feb. 15 for mention.

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Health and Safety

381 people killed, 2,082 injured during “Special Operation Zero” nationwide – FRSC



381 people killed, 2,082 injured during “Special Operation Zero” nationwide – FRSC

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says Road Traffic Crashes (RTCs) killed 381 people during the Yuletide “Operation Zero” tolerance to crashes across the nation.

The Corps Marshal, FRSC, Dauda Biu, said during a press briefing on Friday in Abuja that the Corps recorded a total of 626 RTCs across the nation

Biu who said that 4,698 people were involved in the RTCs added that 2,082 people were injured which included various degrees of injuries.

The Just concluded 2022 Operation Zero Tolerance Special Patrol began on December 15, 2022, and came to a conclusion on January 15, 2023.

Biu said that the gratifying development was that the Corps went into the exercise with strategic initiatives that would tackle all variables that promoted RTCs particularly speed which had been a principal risk factor over the years.

He said that the Corps was out to check and tackle it head-on by intensifying enforcement on the compulsory installation of Speed Limiting Devices by all commercial vehicles.

“We also ensured that the 2022 exercise was well put together with evidence-based projections, timely and judicious deployments of personnel and equipment complemented by a large pool of volunteers

“These are in the categories of; the Police, Military and Paramilitary Agencies, Ambulance Service Organisations, Federal and State Ministries of Works, Construction Companies, and Community Volunteers.

“During Operation Zero Tolerance to road crashes, a total of 2,295 people were rescued without injuries while 30,726 People were arrested for various offences.

“690 people were arraigned, out of which 650 were convicted with paid fines, 0 were imprisoned, while 40 were discharged and acquitted, “he said.

Biu said that there was an increase in the 2022 records as against 2021 adding that the increase recorded in most of the data presented occurred majorly because of increased visibility.

This, he said was a result of a much wider coverage by Operatives, particularly with the establishment of Local Government Stations which resulted in almost all traffic crashes across the country being captured.

The FRSC boss said that it was even more pertinent to note that the main factors responsible for the crashes were speed violations and continuous night journeys leading to Fatigue.

He said that driving Under Influence, dangerous driving, Wrongful overtaking and tyre violation (worn out and expired) were among notable factors that caused RTCs during the yuletide season.

He urged travellers to as much as possible avoid excessive speed and steer clear of night trips due to the perennial dangers that come with it.

He emphasised that poor visibility, excessive speed, fatigue and other unhealthy driving behaviours were also associated with driving during the dark hours on Nigerian roads.

“I say this because, travelling at night is a risk factor to all road users, and this must be totally avoided to save lives, “he said.

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Health and Safety

Nigeria records 23,550 cases of cholera



Nigeria records 23,550 cases of cholera

Nigeria recorded 23,550 suspected cases of cholera in 2022 with Borno taking the lead with 12,459 cases.

The country also lost 583 lives to the scourge in 2022, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said on Friday in Abuja.

He said that Borno’s neighbour, Yobe placed second with 1,888 cases, while Katsina State followed with 1,632 cases.

Taraba had 1,142 cases; Gombe State had 1,407 cases, while Kano State recorded 1,131 cases.

The six states accounted for 84 percent of all cases of Cholera in Nigeria in 2022, Adetifa said.

He also said that 52 percent of cholera victims in 2022 were female while males accounted for the balance of 48 percent.

He put the fatality rate at 2.5 percent of cases reported in 33 states of the federation.

Adetifa said children between the ages of five years and 14 years were the most affected.

He noted that bacterial cholera, endemic during the rainy season, is an acute diarrhoeal disease passing through faeces, contaminated foods and drinks and an unhygienic environment and causes severe dehydration.

He lamented that cholera is largely associated with rural communities and among the poor with poor nutrition, poor water quality, and poor sanitation and had not gotten the desired attention from governments.

Adetifa said the rise in cholera cases in Nigeria was exacerbated by limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities, open defecation and poor hygiene practices.

He cautioned that without proper Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices, Nigeria would continue to be at risk of cholera outbreaks along with the associated sufferings and deaths.

“The long-term solution for cholera control lies in access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation (especially the discontinuation of open defecation) and the practice of hygiene.

“Nigerians should avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping which contribute to the spread of cholera,’’ he said.

In 2016, Nigeria launched an action plan to end open defecation by 2025. The plan involves providing equitable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services and strengthening tailored community approaches to total sanitation.

The country needs an estimated N959 billion to end open defecation by 2025, experts say.

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