The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said it has sealed the warehouses of Jouf Ventures Nigeria Limited, a major importer of wines, cosmetics and distributor of general household merchandise, for selling expired products as new.
According to the agency, the importer, Mr. Joseph Udeh is alleged to have converted two four-storey residential buildings along Kirikiri Road, Apapa, Lagos into warehouses for the sole purpose of relabeling expired products, which end up being sold in the markets across the country.
Brands such as Gallo wines, Omo and Ariel detergents, Huggies and Pampers baby diapers, Milton sterilizing liquid for babies, Sunlight washing powder, Olay cream, among others were found on the premises with expired dates.
The products were stored in cartons and loose pieces in more than 40 rooms, including the sitting room, kitchens, toilets, bathrooms and under the staircases.
Mr. Udeh’s family is said to live on the third floor of one of the buildings, while the rest of the space are used for storage of merchandise.
Some of the products expired as far back as 2004, while others had expiry dates of 2013, 2016 and other dates.
Udeh, who owns various shops at the Balogun Market, Trade Fair Complex, along the Badagry Expressway, said that he was a supplier to some of the major department stores in the country.
When asked about the presence of expired products in his warehouses, he said that he made several calls to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) requesting that they come and destroy the goods, but the agency had been slow to respond.
Twin-Storey building/warehouse belonging to Jouf Ventures
Gallo Wines – Expired
General Household Merchandise – Expired
“We invite NAFDAC every year to come and destroy the expired goods, but they do not come as often as we need them to and sometimes when they come, they would insist on destroying only a limited number, two truckloads of goods, maybe,” he said.
However, NAFDAC denied ever having any communication with Mr. Udeh. The Public Relations Officer for the agency, Mrs. Christy Obiazikwor, said the man was using NAFDAC as an excuse.
“What he is saying is not even logical. If he invited NAFDAC to destroy the products, why is he then changing the labeling on them,” she questioned?
Showing the media around the buildings yesterday, SON Director of Monitoring & Compliance, Engr. Bede Obayi, said:
“We acted on the intelligence we received from well-meaning Nigerians. You can see the volume of expired products here and imagine the implication for our society in terms of health issues.
“When somebody buys expired cream, what does it show? You are applying cream that the active ingredient has gone and that may cause reactions on the skin.
“SON cannot accept this and those who are out to kill Nigerians. We will not allow them to be selling things like this, killing people in the name of merchandising.”
He promised that at the end of the investigation, the importer would be charged to court.