The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria’s regulatory agency for foods and drugs, on Wednesday sealed the premises of Sacra Multi-Links Limited, where the popular herbal product- Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine, is produced.
NAFDAC said its decision was in response to “recent complaints about the factory”.
The regulatory agency’s action followed an investigative report published on Saturday by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES which exposed the danger in the ‘concoction’ sold to millions of Nigerians.
The investigation sheds light on the content, safety and regulatory framework guiding the production and sale of the herbal product many Nigerians consume.
After a five-month-long probe, DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES found that the product carries two invalid NAFDAC registration numbers and is a huge safety risk to users.
Extensive laboratory analysis also indicates that continuous consumption of the concoction could lead to acute kidney, lung and liver injuries.
The investigation placed NAFDAC in the spotlight as public members questioned how the producer got his initial registration done without meeting basic requirements, among other infractions.
The investigation also revealed that the herbal concoction is being produced in a residential building against the dictates of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) prescribed by NAFDAC.
NAFDAC on Wednesday informed these newspapers it had launched a probe into the findings.
The operation led by Umar Sulaiman, the Team leader (Federal Task Force), Investigative and Enforcement, NAFDAC, was first reported by some media platforms.
The operation was carried out within the premises of Sacra Multi-Links Limited in Tafa, a town along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
Although PREMIUM TIMES and DUBAWA were not part of the operation, the agency’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abubakar Jimoh, confirmed the development.
Mr Sulaiman said the operation was conducted following recent complaints about the factory.
“We went into action after investigations, and had the factory raided. The factory is called Sacra Multilink Ltd., owned by Dr Salisu Sani, Nawagini Baban Aisha, who sells herbal medicine.
“We are all here for one purpose and that is to safeguard the health of the nation. Upon our arrival here, we found a lot of violations of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), production of herbal medicine with expired licence.
“We also witnessed an illegal production of some of the products which have not been registered with NAFDAC, along with poor hygiene practices and that is why we took this step.
“We are going to seal this place and arrest any responsible officer here,” he said.
Mr Sulaiman’s comments confirmed the findings in the report, which revealed that the outlook of the building and its residential status already fall short of the dictates of the GMP.
The team leader also noted that although the producer got registration for one of his products in 2018, the registration has since expired. Instead of renewing, Baba Aisha keeps using it for other products he is producing in the building.
“He had gone ahead to produce other products, placing the same approved number for a particular product on other products. This is not right, it is not in best practices,” Mr Sulaiman said.
PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation shows that the registration referred to here was shady as the producer did not fulfil basic requirements. NAFDAC is yet to respond to allegations of possible internal connivance in the registration process.
He added that despite the agency’s efforts to get Baba Aisha to operate at an approved standard, the producer always returns to his harmful production ways.
Alluding to this newspaper’s report, Mr Sulaiman said some renovation works noticed at the factory were as a result of an expose by investigative journalist Kemi Busari.
Factory sealed; items confiscated
The Kaduna State Coordinator of NAFDAC, Nasiru Mato, explained that Baba Aisha has since 2018 failed to fill out compliance papers that would have qualified him for renewal.
He added that the fact that the factory doesn’t conform with the dictates of GMP and other complaints informed the decision of the commission to seal his factory.
“So, under this condition, we had no option but to seal the entire premises, and evacuate all related equipment and facilities used for production.
“GMP is a criteria for product registration, it must meet laid down standards,” Mr Mato said.
Daily Nigeria reports some of the equipment moved away from the factory, include; one HD injection polythene (25kg) and one HDPE polythene (25kg).
The team also took away sacks with labels, Hana big box scale, speakers used in advertising the products, a workmaster heat gun, and packaging bottles.