The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has appealed to the public to desist from the use of dangerous herbal preparations being sold in open places across the country.
This came as the agency assured that it was doing everything to ensure that only safe and efficacious medicine, wholesome food, and quality-regulated products are sold and used by Nigerians.
Speaking at a press conference, Monday, in Abuja, NAFDAC Director General,Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, solicited the support of health practitioners, community leaders, religious leaders, the press, and all stakeholders to continue to educate their wards and family members to desist from patronizing quacks and hawkers of medicines on the street.
The event was held by the agency to brief the media on the arrest of one Alhaji Salisu Sani, a herbal medicine practitioner, otherwise known as Baban Aisha, for manufacturing herbal medicine with expired registration licence and illegal advertisement and sale of Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid.
She said Alhaji Sani was arrested when the agency recently received reports and concerns on Sacra Herbs oral liquid, popularly called Baban Aisha, following a media investigative report.
Prof. Adeyeye, who said her agency had commenced a nationwide mop-up of the Sacra Herbs in circulation, added: ”We have also intensified crack down on all illegal manufacturers and distributors of herbal preparation and other unregistered preparations, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book and minimize the usage of the substance.”
“I would like to appeal to all, particularly the vulnerable groups to desist from the use of this dangerous herbal preparation. Be assured that NAFDAC is doing everything to ensure that only safe and efficacious medicine, wholesome food and quality regulated products are sold and used by Nigerians.
“I want to assure Nigerians that NAFDAC is doing everything to ensure that only safe medicine and wholesome food of the right quality are sold to our citizenry. I would also like to use this opportunity to solicit for the support of health practitioners, community leaders, religious leaders, the press and all stakeholders to continue to educate their wards and family members to desist from patronizing quacks and hawkers of medicines on the street. Let me also use the medium to thank the gentlemen and ladies of the press and civil societies for their support to NAFDAC in this regard.
“We further advise consumers of NAFDAC regulated products to be watchful of drug, food and other regulated products they purchase and should not hesitate to report any suspicious activities within their environment to the nearest NAFDAC office,” she said.
She recalled that ”NAFDAC was established by Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2014 to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devises, bottled water, detergent, and chemicals (referred to as regulated products).”
Throwing more light on the operations of the herbal medicine company, Prof. Adeyeye said:
”In 2018, the Agency received an application from Sacra Multi-Links Ltd., Layin Alhaji Hamza Mai Bread, Tafa Kagarko LGA, Kaduna State for the registration of its product Sacra Herbs oral liquid. Following regulatory protocols, the Agency granted listing approval with NAFDAC registration number A7-2590L for the Sacra Herbs oral liquid for the purpose of management of pile and associated pains. The notification of the registration of the product was granted on the 6th September, 2018 valid till 12th September, 2019.
“The company on the 12th August, 2020 applied for renewal of its licence. Following regulatory audit of the company’s production facility, compliance directives were issued to them for non-conformance, observed in the facility for which the company was expected to correct. The company, however, did not correct the lapses observed, following which the product registration licence was not renewed.
“The agency also did not receive any application for advertisement of the Sacra herb to warrant the illegal advertisement of the herbal preparation. It is worthy of note that the Sacra herb which licence expired in 2019 was approved for the management of pile and associated pains, while the company went beyond bounds, by prescribing the medicines for unfounded indications, such as for the treatment of Waist pains, Typhoid, Ulcer, Pile, Toilet infection etc.
“Following the viral social media outburst on the nefarious activities of Sacra Multi Links, the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC carried out surveillance, followed by enforcement action and leading to the sealing of the factory and the arrest of two staff of the company, who were complicit in the criminal act.
“The following day, the Managing Director of Sacra Multi Links, Alh. Salisu Sani reported to I&E office in Kaduna and when his vehicle was searched, the following herbal drugs were evacuated from the vehicle: Sacra Herbs oral liquid and two additional unregistered herbal preparations, namely Baban Aisha Man Power & Delay and Cure Powder Kai Kadai Gayya. All the products found with the managing Director and those found in the company were sent to NAFDAC laboratory for analysis. “
Speaking further on actions carried out recently as it relates to illegal manufacture, importation, advertisement, and sale of unregistered herbal drugs, the NAFDAC boss said: ”The Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of the Agency recently clamped down on some distributors of some herbal medicines- Hajia Ayisha Special Snuff AK 47. This was a result of intelligence report received by NAFDAC that these herbal medicines are mainly in the Northern part of Nigeria.
” Findings revealed that the herbal snuff were manufactured in Ghana and was approved for use as an analgesic by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) of Ghana. But is being wrongly packaged and passed-off as a snuff for the Nigerian market.
Investigation further revealed an alarming trend in the use of these poisonous preparations by a wide section of the populace, cutting across all genders and age groups, including young boys and girls, men and married women, drivers and artisans.
“The snuff, popularly called “SHAKE” or “ANGORO” herbal powder comes under different street names, such as: AK 47, Moringa, Black coffee (Dan Kano), Magic powder, Lufthansa, Desert Warrior, etc.”
Some of the products mopped up from circulation during raids by NAFDAC, according to Adeyeye, included: ”Hajia Ayisha special snuff AK 47, Hajia Ayisha snuff AK 47, Hajia Ayisha Masanda original powerful powder, Hajia Ayisha snuff Nasrullah snuff No. 1, Hajia Salma Special snuff, Lufthansa Man power snuff, 99 Bullet more power snuff, AK 47 Power snuff, Hajia Salma VIP Moringa, Forever Journey, Dr Lambo Moringa snuff, Danmilla Kokoo herbal powder, The Desert Warrior, Hajia Salma sundu. The products are abused for various reasons, including, to create pleasure, to get into ecstasy, increase libido, etc.”
“The chemical substance in these deadly products of abuse is pyridine which belongs a class of toxic alkaloids found in some plants of the Nicotiana species, which include the tobacco plant. It can be highly addictive, and it is associated with a range of serious health consequences, including increased risk of cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc,”she said.
She said the successful investigation on Sacra herbs (Baban Aisha), Hajiya Aisha special snuff AK 47 and other herbal medicines “goes to drive home the fact that eradication of fake and counterfeit drugs, adulterated and unwholesome processed foods and other regulated products is a holistic battle which should involve every well-meaning Nigerian.”