… demand removal of DG
The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to probe the circumstances surrounding the ban imposed on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the agency.
This was sequel to a motion moved on the floor of the Green Chamber by members Paschal Agbodike and Philip Agbese during the plenary session on Wednesday.
Also, Civil Society Organisations in Abuja demand the immediate removal of NAFDAC DG in Abuja.
Recall that in January this year, NAFDAC banned the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles for reasons not unconnected with the prevailing cases of drug abuse in the country, especially by some young Nigerians.
Leading the debate on the motion, Agbbodike noted that Section 4(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof.
He also noted that Sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empower the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly including National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
He said, “NAFDAC had announced its decision to stop the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles in January 2024 when the Director General of the Agency informed the public that the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered products will not exceed January 2024.
“The decision to ban the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and runs against the Economic Recovery Plan of the current administration.”
He argued that the House is worried that given the numerous economic challenges confronting poor Nigerians, “The ban on the production of the said beverages will work more havoc and cause job losses for over 50 per cent of the workers in Nigeria.
“The need to encourage the sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises which are the greatest employer of labour in Nigeria, employing over 84 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria, NAFDAC’s policy to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will be counterproductive.
“The decision to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will encourage unscrupulous elements to go about the production of such drinks and products without recourse to NAFDAC.
He further explained that the ban on the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles will worsen the poverty situation in the country.
The motion was subsequently referred to the Committee on NAFDAC for further legislative input.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 100 civil society groups, Wednesday, held what it described as a ‘Let The Poor Live’ protest in Abuja to challenge the ban on sachet and PET bottles of alcoholic drinks by the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Led by the Coalition Against Economic Saboteurs, the groups also called for the immediate sack of the NAFDAC DG Prof. Moji Adeyeye for her anti-people policies.
The groups lamented that the new policy would further pile more problems on the Nigerian economy as it may lead to the eventual shutdown of the industries producing these products.
They further decried that Adeyeye is being used by multinationals to destroy small businesses in our local production and companies.
“Today, we address a matter of grave concern, the recent decision by the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojo Adeyeye, to ban the sale of beverages in small sachets. We view this policy as a direct assault on the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, a move that will not only put countless citizens out of work but also exacerbate the existing problems of insecurity and unemployment in our nation,” Comrade Kabir Matazu said on behalf of the groups.
“We strongly condemn this ill-thought-out policy, which seems disconnected from the realities faced by the ordinary Nigerian citizens. NAFDAC leadership abandoned their core responsibility of focusing on issues that truly threaten the well-being of our people, such as the inflow of fake and substandard drugs, we find the Director General choosing to target a sector that provides employment for many Nigerians and serves the needs of millions of families.
“Professor Mojo Adeyeye’s tenure at NAFDAC has, regrettably, been marked by a series of disappointments and failures to deliver the desired results. Rather than ensuring the safety of our food and drugs, we have witnessed a surge in counterfeit beverages, creating a pervasive doubt about the authenticity of what our citizens consume.
Ben Omale also called on all stakeholders to unite against the leadership of Professor Mojo Adeyeye.
“We demand her immediate suspension from office by the President in order to avert further damage to our economy, job losses, and business closures. It is imperative that NAFDAC should be led by someone who prioritizes the real issues affecting our nation’s health and economic stability.”