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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Saturday reiterated its commitment to safeguarding public health by ensuring that only the quality drugs, food and products were manufactured, imported and circulated in Nigeria.

Mr Idowu Joseph, Chief Regulatory Officer, Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, in reaction to an operation that was conducted by the Agency on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some officials of NAFDAC and some Anti-Riot Policemen attached to its enforcement directorate, had on Friday raided the International Trade Fair Complex in Lagos.

The enforcement team of the agency was on a raid for suspected fake and unregistered Q7 Beauty Range products.

The items included Q7 Gold Whitening Serum Strong Treatment Carrot Extracts, Q7 Whitening Soap, Q7 Carrot Milk Active Whitening Serum, Carrot Extracts Whitening Body Milk Strong Treatment and Rapid White Skin Perfector Serum.

Mr Joseph, Chief Regulatory Officer, Enforcement Directorate, said, ``we went to the Trade Fair Complex to remove some suspected fake Q7 range of products.

``They included soap, cream and serum; the team went to a shop warehouse, it was locked but we had to force it open. We found it empty.

``We had to open it by force because by the rules of NAFDAC, when you reasonably suspect, you can open by force.

``We then proceeded to their main shop, where we saw one piece of Q7 soap.

``On interrogation, the salesperson claimed that the product had not been sold for a long time. However, while going through the receipts, we saw that the soap was sold five days ago.

Joseph said,``These products are suspected because a brand of it is registered with NAFDAC; these ones do not have the NAFDAC numbers and that is why we suspect that they are fake.

``This is just the beginning of the investigation; the owners of the shop have been invited to the office, when they come, we will interview them to find out how they get their products.

``Subsequently, we will send the products to the laboratory for analysis, to determine whether it will pass all standard requirements for human use.

``The outcome of the laboratory results will determine the next step,’’ he said.

According to Joseph, the operation succeeded in getting about 40 cartons from shops in two different plazas in the market, as well as sealing some shops.

Another Chief Regulatory Officer of NAFDAC, Mr Uche Chidi, said that the Agency was carrying out its mandate by going to places suspected to have fake or sub-standard products.

He said that the seized products would be released if the owners proved that they had authentic approvals and documentation for them.

Reacting to the incident, the owner of one of the shops that was raided, Shop No. D10 of the Rivers Plaza, who preferred to be addressed as Mr EasyWhite Ventures, expressed surprise at the raid.

He said, ``the last time our shop was sealed, I had to go to Abuja and present our documents.

``After the products went to the lab, we went and paid penalty fees for it and went back to NAFDAC Abuja to be cleared.

``I am surprised that these same products that the Director General, Dr Paul Orhii, has approved and of which the documents are with an Assistant Director of NAFDAC, are being seized again.

``We cannot resist this current operation as the officers of NAFDAC are doing their work.

EasyWhite Ventures said, ``On Monday, we will go to the NAFDAC office to sort out issues and reach a resolution.

``The products are well registered and I believe that opposition will not succeed because I have my trademark.

``I have my design registration and even the product has gone far with registration,’’ he said.

Mr Omoyeni Babatunji, a Chief Regulatory Officer with NAFDAC, said that the choice of the Trade Fair Complex for this particular operation was strategic.

`` The Trade Fair Complex is so strategic in cosmetics distribution as importers and re-sellers can easily bring in goods from the land border, provided they pay their duties.

``A lot of people come to this complex to buy their products because the market is large and the goods are supposed to be cheaper, being a wholesale market and close to the Cotonou border.

``So, it behooves on us to continually check and monitor these markets in our country, to ensure that only duly approved and registered products are circulated and sold to Nigerians,’’ Babatunji explained.

NAN reports that according to NAFDAC, any regulated product not registered is considered as fake because such products have not been tested or certified fit for human consumption by the Agency.

``Allowing it in the public domain is 10 times risking the lives of poor Nigerians.

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