NAFDAC introduces anti-impersonation badges for its officers
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has introduced a sophisticated badge that would help members of the public to distinguish a genuine NAFDAC officer from unscrupulous individuals parading themselves as officers of the Agency.
Director-General, NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii stated that this new gold plated badge is not a replacement for the existing NAFDAC identification card but an addition.
According to him, 'It is a matter of concern that NAFDAC is not only confronted with the enormous challenge of fighting drug counterfeiting but also faced with the task of combating the worrisome incidences of fake NAFDAC Regulatory officers.
Impersonation of NAFDAC officers by unscrupulous conmen who extort money from unsuspecting manufacturers, distributors and marketers of NAFDAC regulated products in various parts of the country it is a serious problem warranting decisive and proactive measures. It is regrettable to know that NAFDAC recorded several cases of impersonation in 2010 alone.
'On 5th August, 2010, Mr. Usman Mohammed and Mr. Ahmed Adeyemi went to Badex Nigeria Enterprises; a producer of packaged water at Pategi, claiming they were NAFDAC officers from Abuja demanding for the sum of N50, 000 to prevent his arrest because they claimed he was producing without NAFDAC registration number. The company was told to pay the money into the account of Mr. Usman Mohammed- Bank PHB 2051345878. When Badex Nigeria Enterprises did not respond, the same people demanded the company should pay N30,000 and buy them recharge cards. It was after this encounter that the case was reported to NAFDAC and the culprits were apprehended.
'On 20th August, 2010, Mr. Johnson Ojumodegun Bello and Mr. Bode W. U went to Bash Bello pure water in Ilorin and met the security guard who was told to inform the owner of the company to raise the fence and pay the sum of N25,000 into the account of Olumodegun - Oceanic Bank 283001015087. Two telephone numbers 08123105302 and 08038462309 were given for the company to contact them and both men claimed they were from NAFDAC Headquarters, Abuja. The men left a letter for the chairman of the company. Both cases were reported to the police in Ilorin.
'Mr. Olanrewaju Ojo – an OND holder was convicted of impersonation by Ibadan magistrate court in 2005 while Usman Moharnmed was convicted by Lafia Magistrate court for impersonation in 2009.
'We zealously prosecuted and secured the conviction of one Darlington Chukwu in 2010 who was sentenced to five and half years imprisonment by a Calabar magistrate court for posing as NAFDAC Director.
'You may also wish to recall that last year NAFDAC placed several public alert notices in the media disclaiming some groups of people posing as NAFDAC consultants going around the country to extort money from innocent unemployed graduates under the guise of helping the Agency to recruit staff.
'Given this scenario, there is no way the Agency can fold its arms and allow charlatans to tarnish our hard earned reputation while at the same time inflicting financial loses and psychological trauma on innocent Nigerians.
'It is against this background that NAFDAC has introduced a sophisticated badge that would help members of the public – to distinguish a genuine NAFDAC officer from unscrupulous individuals parading themselves as officers of the Agency. This new gold plated badge is not a replacement for the existing NAFDAC Identification card but an addition. I want to reiterate the Agency's preparedness to deal severely with cases of impersonations and other malpractices that infringe on NAFDAC laws.'
Dr. Orhil further explained that NAFDAC does not accept cash from companies and individuals for all her transactions. 'It is therefore advised that any suspicious case of impersonation should immediately be reported to the nearest NAFDAC office or call one of our hotlines: 08133630600 or 08058741647,' he said.