NAFDAC raids counterfeiter’s lair in Lagos, Abuja; impounds wines and spirits worth millions

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday raided a shop at the popular Oke-Arin market, Balogun, Lagos State and arrested a trader who allegedly manufactures and bottles counterfeit wines and spirits.

The agency said that they acted on a tip-off about some individuals who deal on counterfeit wines and spirits of popular brands.

The enforcement team of NAFDAC said they discovered labeling materials, corks, funnel, filters and empty bottles of registered liquor brands in a shop on Isa Williams Street, Oke-Arin Market, Balogun.

Speaking to the media after the raid, the Assistant Director, investigation and Enforcement Directorate, NAFDAC, Mr. Uche Uzoma, revealed that the raid was part of a global exercise occurring simultaneously in all nations across the world called Operation Olson VI.

He added that the operation was jointly being run by Europol, Interpol and other law enforcement agencies including customs, police, and the military. The aim was to disrupt criminal network of food and drink product counterfeiters.

He noted that the agency had earlier raided a container apartment which was being used as a cold storage room for expired FanMilk brands such as yoghurt, milk, Fanyogo, Fan Chocolate and others.

“We recovered some yoghurt and other drinks that did not have the expected labeling information that they are supposed to bear, no batch number, no manufacturing or expiry dates.

“In such situations you cannot ascertain the quality, safety and the efficacy of such products and consumers are being deceived into consuming them. All the information which is very key in identifying an approved product by NAFDAC was not found on them,” he said.

Elsewhere, the agency raided and sealed-off four shops in Wuse Market, Abuja, which speacialise in the sale of fake and unregistered wine.

The agency valued the counterfeit wine in Wuse at N100m.

Some of the wines impounded includes St. Remy, Marteus Rose, Vino Joven Jordan, Toma Red Grape, J&W Cockktail, Dove, Cristalino, Cosecha, among others.

During the raid, the team found what was perceived to be a wine factory that had dozens of empty packets of Don Simon, opened bottles of Coke and sealed and unsealed cartons of wine.

The agency’s Deputy Director of Investigation and Enforcement, Shaba Mohammed, said that the products would be tested at NAFDAC’s laboratory to confirm their quality.

He added that the shop owners would be prosecuted for selling counterfeit wine.

Mohammed noted that the products in the sealed shops appear to be contaminated and had harmful elements that could cause liver cirrhosis, cancer and irregular heartbeats.

“We are after counterfeit products particularly wine. We came across unregistered and counterfeit products in four different locations in large quantities.

“We have decided to evacuate and seal the locations. We will conduct an investigation even though we already know some of them are counterfeit; from that, we are going to file the cases for prosecution at the Federal High Court.

“Most of the products are contaminated and some of them have contents that shouldn’t be found inside drinks. These have effects on the liver, which can cause liver cirrhosis, cancer, some other unusual situations and also deaths in most cases.”

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