The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has sealed a facility used to store imported contraband tomato paste in Rivers.
NAFDAC Assistant Chief Regulatory Officer, Apapa, Lagos, Mr. Adeniran Kazeem, made this known to newsmen in Port Harcourt.
He said this after the arrest of the Managing Director of Integrated Wholesales Services Limited in Trans-Amadi Layout, Mr Obiora John, who allegedly imported and distributed the contraband tomato paste, which is on the federal government’s list of contraband importation products in the country.
Kazeem also said that Obiora John allegedly removed the seal placed on his facility by the agency in November 2022.
“Upon our interrogation, we noticed that the company removed the seal placed at the facility in November 2022 without the agency’s approval.
“The company’s accountant told us that the company had stopped the importation and distribution of contraband tomato paste since 2020, but we found out that the imported tomato paste seen at the facility was manufactured in 2022.
“We also found out from the company’s records that there have been importation and distribution of the products to date,” he explained.
Kazeem said that the agency’s aim of raiding and sealing contraband drinks and food distribution companies in the country was to promote, encourage and create an enabling environment for local manufacturers.
He advised members of the public to stop patronising the distributors of imported contraband products in the stores and open the market.
According to him, “The suspect has been arrested, and the agency will further investigate and prosecute him. I am also advising the importers of contraband drinks, foods, and other products to desist from the act or face the consequences.”
He assured that the agency would curb the importation of illicit and contraband products into the country to save the economy.
Mr. Obiora John, the managing director of the tomato paste distribution company said that it is operating a sketchy business to hold its clients till the company starts production at the newly built production factory.
John said that he removed the seal placed on his facility by the agency because he thought that he could do so after making payment through remittance to the agency.