It was gathered that the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control on Tuesday in Jos, burnt down counterfeit drugs worth more than N85 million.
Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, its Director (Special Duties), who supervised the destruction of the drugs, in a brief remark shortly before the activity, said that some of them were voluntarily surrendered to the agency by their owners, after realising that they were fake, substandard, unwholesome, or had expired.
He said that other drugs were mopped up by the agency’s surveillance teams in Plateau.
Jimoh said: “The counterfeiters would have made more than N85 million by selling these poisons to you and I; happily, they are being destroyed.”
He vowed that NAFDAC would rid the nation of fake drugs, and described those engaged in them as “far worse than armed robbers”.
He said: “An armed robbery could attack you, take your money and leave you, but the counterfeiters’ destruction is very massive because one drug can wipe out a whole village.”
Jimoh said that such fake drugs had been found to be largely responsible for the rising cases of diseases associated with liver, kidney and the heart, and called for full support by all toward checking the menace.
He said that the agency had similarly destroyed counterfeit drugs worth N100 million in Makurdi “in our quest to clean up the system”.
Jimoh, however, said that much progress was being made as the system recorded only 3 per cent of fake drugs in 2014, down from 19 per cent recorded in 2011.
He said: “We are making substantial progress in the war, but we are targeting zero per cent so that Nigeria will be totally free.
“We are optimistic that after sometime, we shall have nothing to destroy.”
In her speech, Josephine Dayilim, NAFDAC Zonal Coordinator for North-Central, said that the destruction of the drugs was in fulfillment of NAFDAC’s mandate to ensure that only regulated and certified drugs were sold to Nigerians.
Dayilim said: “It is a preventive measure to ensure that fake and unwholesome drugs are withdrawn from circulation.”
Dayilim said that the drugs were being destroyed publicly to instill confidence in members of the public and put a lie to the allegations that the seized items were being used or sold secretly.
She expressed happiness that most of the drugs were voluntarily submitted by various companies, retail outlets as well as governmental organisations to be destroyed to save society from harm.
She said: “What it shows is that people are willingly helping the fight against fake drugs; it also shows that we are succeeding.”
The coordinator hinted that NAFDAC would soon sensitise youth groups on the ills of dangerous drugs, pointing out that such substances had destroyed the lives of many promising young ones.
Tyopen Terna, spokesman of the Plateau Police Command, in his remarks, said that 70 per cent of Nigeria’s problems would be taken care of, if there were no illicit drugs for the youths to consume.
He called for concerted effort toward saving youths from destruction, and regretted that many of them had become addicted to various substances and could no longer contribute meaningfully to the society.