NAFDAC Seals Imported Contraband Tomato Paste Warehouse, Arrests Managing Director
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) took decisive action on Thursday by sealing a facility involved in the distribution of imported contraband tomato paste in Rivers. Mr. Adeniran Kazeem, NAFDAC’s Assistant Chief Regulatory Officer based in Apapa, Lagos, made this announcement during a press briefing held in Port Harcourt.The development follows the recent arrest of Mr. Obiora John, the Managing Director of Integrated Wholesales Services Limited in Trans-Amadi Layout, who stands accused of importing and distributing contraband tomato paste, a product included in the federal government’s list of prohibited imports.Kazeem revealed that Obiora John had allegedly tampered with the seal affixed to his facility by the agency in November 2022 without obtaining the necessary approval. “During our interrogation, we discovered that the company had removed the seal without authorization,” Kazeem stated. “The company’s accountant claimed that importation and distribution of contraband tomato paste ceased in 2020. However, our investigation revealed that the imported tomato paste found at the facility was manufactured in 2022. Moreover, the company’s records indicated ongoing importation and distribution of the product.”Kazeem emphasized that NAFDAC’s objective in raiding and sealing contraband drink and food distribution companies across the nation is to foster and support an enabling environment for local manufacturers. He urged the public to refrain from patronizing stores and open markets selling imported contraband products.”The suspect has been apprehended, and we will proceed with a thorough investigation and subsequent prosecution,” Kazeem confirmed. He also issued a warning to importers of contraband drinks, foods, and other products, urging them to desist from such activities or face the consequences. Kazeem assured the public that NAFDAC is determined to curtail the influx of illicit and prohibited goods into the country in order to safeguard the economy.In response to these allegations, Mr. Obiora John, the Managing Director of Integrated Wholesales Services Limited located in Trans-Amadi industrial layout, admitted that the company is currently engaged in temporary business operations aimed at retaining its clientele until the new production factory becomes operational. John justified his removal of the agency seal by claiming that he believed he could do so after remitting payment to NAFDAC.