MY PIKIN MIXTURE PRODUCERS CONTEST NEW PROOF OF EVIDENCE
TRIAL of the producers of alleged killer baby teething powder mixture, My Pikin, Kola Okunlola and three others at a Federal High Court in Lagos resumed yesterday after a long break with the accused persons urging the trial judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, to discountenance the additional proof of evidence filed against them by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Okunlola and the other accused persons – Adeyemo Abiodun, Egbele Eromosele and Barewa Pharmaceutical Limited – were in March 2009 arraigned before the court on a six-count charge by NAFDAC.
But in a motion on notice dated November 15, 2010, and supported by a 16-paragraph affidavit deposed by Ola Bakare, the producers contended that the documents were long filed after the proof of evidence dated April 5, 2010, was filed with the charge.
They also contended that no leave of the court was sought and obtained before NAFDAC subsequently filed and served the additional proof of evidence. According to them, the prosecuting counsel has also failed to explain his failure to file and tender the additional proof of evidence since investigation into the matter has been concluded.
After listening to the counsel, Justice Okeke adjourned till February 4, 2011, for adoption of written addresses by counsel in the matter while further hearing on the substantial trial of the accused continues today.
It would be recalled that the manufacturers had last year urged the court to unseal their factory, which was closed by NAFDAC shortly after the alleged killer mixture was discovered.
In the alternative, the manufacturers want the court to mandate NAFDAC to unseal the factory and close only the section where My Pikin is being produced.
They also want the court to compel NAFDAC to release the proof of evidence in respect of the allegations to them.
But the court in its ruling rejected the application, following the objection of the prosecution.
The court also overruled the application of the counsel to the accused persons, Andrew Eghobamien (SAN), urging the court to allow the video of an alleged contempt of court charge against the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to be played in the court. The court held that there was no basis for the video to be played.
NAFDAC had charged the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited, Okunola, to court for allegedly making 'poisonous teething mixture'.
He was charged along with Adeyemo Abiodun, Egbele Austine Eromosele and Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited as second, third and fourth accused.