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

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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

Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters says troops have in the last one week neutralised 192 terrorists, apprehended 341 others and rescued 62 kidnapped hostages.

It also said a total of 122 ISWAP/JAS terrorists surrendered with their families.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a news briefing on operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also recovered 211 assorted weapons and 6,288 assorted ammunition within the week.

He said the recovered items comprised 128 AK.47 rifles, 26 Dane guns, 1,301 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3,260 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 1,325 live cartridges, and 140 rounds of 9mm ammunition among other items.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised 71 terrorists, arrested 143 suspects and rescued 58  kidnapped hostages during the week.

He added that the air component conducted air strikes on ISWAP/JAS terrorists’ hideouts and logistics hub, including their food processing unit in Kolleram village, along Lake Chad.

According to him, the Battle Damage Assessment revealed that over 30 terrorists, including senior commanders; Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari, were neutralised as well as their logistics were destroyed as a result of the strike.

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 29 insurgents, arrested 53 violent extremists and rescued eight kidnapped hostages.

In the North West, he said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralised 62 terrorists, arrested 49 terrorists and rescued 36 kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops of Operation Whirl Punch arrested 14 criminals and recovered cache of arms and ammunition as well as military accoutrements.

According to him, other items recovered are 620 parcels of substances suspected to be marijuana, 10 Yoruba Nation flags, eight mobile phones, and four handheld radios, among other items.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe had maintained momentum against activities of crude oil theft and recovered 792,660 litres of stolen crude oil and 117,070 litres of illegally refined AGO.

He added that troops discovered and destroyed 31 illegal refining sites with 99 dugout pits, 11 boats, 29 storage tanks, 192 cooking ovens and nine vehicles.

According to him, troops apprehended 27 suspected oil thieves and other violent extremists, recovering five weapons and 162 assorted ammunition.

In the South-East, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operation UDOKA neutralised nine terrorists, arrested 11 violent extremists, rescued 17 kidnapped hostages and recovered weapons. 

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Health and Safety

Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

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Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

A joint security team deployed to Suru and Maiyama local government areas of Kebbi on Tuesday rescued two persons abducted by suspected bandits in the areas.

The operation was conducted by operatives of the Nigerian Army, NSCDC, DSS and vigilante groups.

Confirming the story to newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the Director in charge of the Security Service, Cabinet Office, AbdulRahman Zagga, attributed the success to the support of Gov. Nasir Idris in providing all the necessary tools to the agencies.

“Following the consistent efforts of the Kebbi Governor, Dr Nasir Idris in supporting the security agencies operating in the state, a joint team of security operatives on Tuesday successfully rescued two kidnapped victims.

“The operation was successful; we were able to follow the bandits from Giro forest to Boma and down to Zugu Liba forest where the victims were rescued,” he said.

The director said that the kidnappers could no longer withstand the security pressure, thereby, abandoning the kidnapped victims.

He explained that the rescued victims were handed over to the village head and the vigilante chairman of Zugu Liba village for them to be reunited with their families.

He called on the people to support the security operatives with useful information that would assist in effectively discharging their duty of curtailing the challenges of insecurity in the state. 

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Health and Safety

NDLEA Destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Drugs in Lagos, Ogun

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 litres of drugs in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Tuesday in Ibereko Badagry, Lagos, destroyed 304,436 kg and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun States.

The Chairman of the Agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in adherence with court orders.

Marwa called for more public support for the ongoing efforts by the NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court, “ the NDLEA boss said.

The chairman noted that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types.

According to him, they include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states, as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states, from January 2022 till date, especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs.

“The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld,” he noted.

Marwa appreciated the traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs, as well as other stakeholders, who witnessed the ceremony.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr Olusegun Onilude, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the NDLEA in tackling the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos State Government appreciates the NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried,” he stated.

Sanwo-Olu also commended the agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across the state.

“No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the agency and its leadership,” he assured.

It was reported that Marwa on Monday in Lagos, announced that 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, have been arrested in the last three years.

He also said that within the period, the agency successfully prosecuted and convicted 9,034 of them, as well as seized over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances.

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