No fewer than 10 suspects have been arrested by operatives of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration, and Control (NAFDAC) at the Cemetery Market, Aba, Abia State, for allegedly manufacturing fake products.
NAFDAC, through its South East Zone director, Martins Iluyomade, called for efforts to sanitise the market, while briefing journalists on raids carried out by its personnel in the market on Monday and Tuesday.
Iluyomade lamented that fake and expired products harmful to human consumption were discovered during the raid.
The director disclosed that the raid followed a credible information made available to the agency.
He further disclosed that the suspected criminals converted many shops into manufacturing centres for all manner of wines and expensive drinks.
Also, he said they were used for the revalidation of dates for expired products.
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“We have the cooperation of the state government. So far, we’ve discovered 240 shops used for the illegal manufacturing of fake consumables. About 10 persons have been arrested and the arrest is still ongoing.
“No wonder we have all manner of health issues and the funny thing is that we use our money to buy this evil. Our DG is not leaving any stone unturned in getting rid of fake products in our market,” Iluyomade said.
Reacting to the discovery, the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, frowned at the development and said it should not be treated with kid gloves.
Goodluck Ibem, leader of COSEYL, called on the National Assembly to find a way to amend the constitution to ensure that nothing less than capital punishment is prescribed as a penalty for the production and marketing of fake products.
He tasked the Abia State government with giving more support to NAFDAC to sanitise the markets of fake products to enable genuine businessmen to do their trading.
Also, the chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation in Aba, Prof. Charles Chinekezi, in his reaction, charged officials of NAFDAC and other law enforcement agencies to be more serious in dealing with perpetrators of such acts.
According to him, some perpetrators arrested for the same offence some years ago allegedly returned to their illegal businesses after they were released.