Traders, ‘Area Boys’ Attack NAFDAC Officials In Lagos, Ogun | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Traders, ‘Area Boys’ Attack NAFDAC Officials In Lagos, Ogun

Posted: Sep 6, 2015 at 2:56 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Onche Odey Lagos

Officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and mobile policemen attached to its enforcement directorate came under physical attack at the weekend when traders and street urchins, commonly known as ‘Area Boys’ attempted to prevent them from carrying out raids on outlets in markets across Lagos and Ogun States.

The attack enforcement teams of the agency were on a nationwide raid for fake, unregistered, counterfeit and suspected contaminated vegetable oil in major markets and distribution channels in the states when the traders and touts swooped on them, seized some of the products already evacuated by the teams and beat up one of the Agency’s staff, identified as Miss Evelyn Chiemeke.

According to an eye witness, the exercise, which was almost successful, turned rowdy when the members of the union at the markets trooped out in their hundreds with the help of ‘area boys’ and prevented the enforcement team from evacuating the offending “MOI Vegetable Oil” and other products already seized from the traders.

From Mile 12 to Ikorodu, Sango Otta, Alaba-Arago in Ojo, Boundary Market in Ajegunle, Suru-Alaba and Oke-Arin markets, there were pockets of attack on the officials despite the presence of armed mobile policemen attached to the teams. 

At the Ikorodu Market four shops were sealed, 438 gallons of fake vegetable oil, valued at N6, 576,000, and two traders arrested.

The officials narrowly escaped mob attack as the traders resorted to carrying all forms of weapons for a free-for-all, allegedly at the instigation of a market leader who later admitted being the importer of the unregistered vegetable oil from Cotonu into Nigeria.

At Sango Market in Ogun State, where NAFDAC officials were also assaulted by the market union members, six shops were sealed and one of the staff of the Agency was roundly manhandled.

At Alabarago Market in Ojo LGA where the team forced open a warehouse stocked with fake products after the owners had absconded on sighting NAFDAC’s officials, one of the Mobile Policemen attached to the team was attacked and almost lost his gun to the mob in the process.

Briefing journalists shortly after the raids, at Boundary Market in Ajegunle area of Lagos, NAFDAC’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Enforcement Operations, Joseph Folorunsho-Idowu, expressed regrets that the exercise was marred by pockets of violence saying, “the Agency stormed the markets following intelligence reports over illegal importation and indiscriminate circulation of unregistered vegetable oil in Nigerian markets.”