The ad hoc committee in the House of Representatives which is investigating the production and distribution of soft drinks manufactured by the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and other soft drinks producers in the country has accused the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of compromise and failing in its duties to live up to its responsibility.
The House majority Leader and chair of the committee, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila called on the agency to live up to its responsibilities in order not to increase the health risks posed to consumers of food and drinks by Nigerians, this he stated at the resumption of the committee’s hearing on Thursday. It was noted that NAFDAC issued a certificate of compliance to Pepsi and Seven-Up Bottling Company a month after the same business was served a query by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), a development whose rationale was questioned by the committee.
The committee chair further stated that what happened to Pepsi and 7Up revealed the lack of collaboration amongst the regulatory agencies. After Pepsi was served a query by SON in March and April, NAFDAC ignored the query and issued Pepsi a certificate of compliance, shortly afterwards.
He expressed concern over NAFDAC’s lack of interest in executing its responsibilities; part of NAFDAC’s mandates is to issue certificate to industries for as long as five years, while visiting the industries at least twice a year, however, documents submitted to the committee show that NAFDAC only visits the industries once a yea. Hon. Gbajabiamila said “this shows clearly that NAFDAC has failed in its responsibility.”
Mr. Nkole Uko (PDP, Abia) who also commented; called on NAFDAC to ensure its staff are well trained in order to comply with international best practices, he berated the scale of work at the regulatory agency saying, “You still operate on a very analog scale. If you go back to the archives, you will find out that you don’t even consider population because population has an effect on whatever product we consume. You see, NAFDAC, you people are not doing whatever you are supposed to do”.