Trader conceals drugs in garri bags in Onitsha


A trader whose name yet to be ascertained has abandoned the killer-drug, Tramadol, which he concealed in bags of Garri and disappeared into thin air to evade arrest.

The Director-General of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Adeyeye, made the disclosure at the inauguration of NAFDAC’s Young Against Drug Abuse (YADA) awareness campaign and stakeholders meeting in Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday. Adeyeye confirmed that the trader emptied cartons of tramadol and scattered them in garri bags and bolted on sighting the inspectors of the agency. He is still on the run.

“NADFAC has confiscated some tramadol weighing 225mg which market value is about N12.5 million in Onitsha, Anambra State, and concealed them in five bags of garri. No arrest has been made yet”.She attributed the discovery to the lifting of embargo on NAFDAC to gain entry to the borders and ports by President Muhammadu Buhari, explaining that since May 2018 it has confiscated 86 containers of tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceutical products injurious to public health.

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“Having been returned to the ports and borders by since May 2018, NAFDAC has been able to control and seize more tramadol and unregistered products worth more than N200 billion.”While speaking on the topic ‘Abuse of Psychoactive Drugs in Nigeria: Our Problem,’ she expressed concern over the increasing spate of drug abuse, especially in the North-Western part of the country.

Adeyeye, who was represented by a director of the agency in Onitsha, Christians Esenwah, renewed calls for the passage of Drug Safety Bill to ensure stiffer penalty against drug peddlers. The NAFDAC boss stated that the fight against drug abuse would cover such domains as families, communities, schools, churches, drug manufacturers, importers and government.

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She urged the Federal Government to provide treatment and rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, noting that the agency was using Young Pharmaceutical Group (YPG) campaign to curb the spread of drug abuse in the country.

Also contributing, the state’s YADA Project Coordinator, Onyeka Obidigwe, explained that YADA was a school-based programme targeted at sensitising students on the dangers of drug abuse and misuse.

According to him, “We are targeting the transition points in secondary education at which young adults are prone to drug abuse, especially at the JSS1, SS1 and SS3 classes. These are stages our children are exposed to drug abuse and other social vices. Research suggests that with proper education, children are more empowered to tackle drug abuse or misuse.”

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The project coordinator said nine schools were selected for the campaign in the state, adding that Anambra, Osun, Delta, Adamawa, Kano and Lagos States were the six pilot states picked for the one-year project.“YADA is making deliberate efforts to educate the young ones against the use of substances like cannabis, cocaine, marijuana and tramadol,” he said. “That these substances can alter their future and dreams.”

The project is funded by NAFDAC and implemented by Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Young Pharmacists Group (PYNYPG). More than 50 students from various schools as well as representatives of the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCD) and PYNYPG, among others attended the event.

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