The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria’s regulatory body for food and drugs, has confirmed the arrest and detention of the producer of Baba Aisha herbal medicine, Salisu Sani.
Mr Sani’s detention was confirmed on Thursday evening by NAFDAC’s Director of Investigation and Enforcement, Francis Ononiwu, while appearing as a panellist on a Twitter space organised by PREMIUM TIMES and Dubawa to appraise the details of the newspaper’s report.
The development followed an investigation by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES on the product sold to millions of Nigerians, which has now been found to be deadly.
Mr Ononiwu said Mr Sani was arrested and detained by the police when he visited the agency’s office in Abuja following the raid conducted on his company’s premises earlier conducted on Wednesday by NAFDAC and the arrest of two of his workers.
‘How Sani was arrested’
Mr Sani was said to have visited the agency’s headquarters in Abuja accompanied by a lawyer whose identity was not disclosed by NAFDAC.
Mr Ononiwu stated that two other persons were arrested when the agency’s Task Force team raided the premises where the herbal concoction was being produced on Wednesday.
He explained that several products carrying fake or expired products were confiscated in the factory that was raided by operatives of the Investigative and Enforcement unit led by Umar Sulaiman.
Mr Ononiwu said that upon the arrival of Mr Sani at the NAFDAC’s office, officials of the organisation searched his vehicle and found several unregistered products.
Also confirming the development, Dadi Nantim, the special adviser to the Director-General of the NAFDAC, Moji Adeyeye, a professor of Pharmaceutics and Drug Product Evaluation, said proper investigation would be conducted.
“We collaborate with the police (to effect the arrest). We don’t have a detention facility,” Mr Nantim added.
The investigation, published on Saturday, 10 June, sheds light on the content, safety and regulatory framework guiding the production and sale of the herbal product many Nigerians consume.
After a five-month-long probe, DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES found that the product, which carries two invalid NAFDAC registration numbers, is a huge safety risk to users.
Extensive laboratory analysis also indicates that continuous consumption of the concoction could lead to acute kidney, lung and liver injuries.
The investigation placed NAFDAC in the spotlight as members of the public questioned how the producer got his initial registration done without meeting basic requirements, among other infractions.
The investigation also revealed that the herbal concoction is being produced in a residential building against the dictates of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) prescribed by NAFDAC.
NAFDAC on Wednesday informed these newspapers it had launched a probe into our findings and promised to keep us informed once concluded.
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