PRESS AND SENSITIZATION OF THE PUBLIC ON FAKE DRUGS IN NIGERIA; AN EVALUATION OF THE COVERAGE OF NAFDAC BY THE NIGERIA PRESS.

CHAPTER ONE

  INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In the last few years, the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been news worthy. There is hardly any day without mention of NAFDAC by either electronic or print media. This coverage is more of positive stories on the activities of the agency than negative. The agency is not new in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the agency was established in 1974 by the Federal Government with the promulgation of the food and drug decree by administration of General Yakubu Gowon at a time the agency was a mere arm of the Federal Ministry of Health. The agency was to control the importation, sales and use of drugs bottled or canned food and pre-packed water in Nigeria. Twenty years after precisely in 1994, NAFDAC appeared as a full fledged agency with another decree amending the 1974 food and drug decree. THE NAFDAC decree was enacted in January 1993 as decree No 15. 1993 culminating in antinomies. Although the maiden governing council had been put in place 1992 by the federal Government with Ambassador Tanimu Saubawa as the chairman. Throughout this period the activities of the agency lacked the will to bark and bite importers, sellers and manufacturers of fake drugs, canned food and owner of unregistered sachet water called “pure water” during this period there was much traffic of adulterated drugs that are dangerous to human life. Hawking and setting up of quack medicine stores becomes rampant who produced drugs administered and sold them. The increasing incident of drug trafficking in Nigeria becomes an issue of concern to the Nigeria society especially after the civil war in 1970 and that was what lead to the promulgation of the 1994 decree but the decree could not really control the menace of fake drug production and its administration. The first Director General of NAFDAC was Professor G.E Osunde unfortunately; the professor could not achieve the desired result. Trafficking in fake drugs and administration thrived like normal business under him.

The appointment in April 2001 of Dr. (Mrs) Dora Nkem Akunyili as the Director General of the agency after the expiration of the tenure of professor Osunde changed the story of NAFDAC. Akunyili now a professor, took the bull by the horn and woke the agency from its slumber, she professed the will and coverage to make the agency live to its responsibility. As soon as she took over she directed to register their packaged water enterprise or get their factories closed down. Staff members of the agency accomplished by enforcement agencies were made to visit pharmaceutical stores, factories, airports, seaports and borders posts to search confiscate fake drug arrest their owners and persecute some owners.

This action of Professor Dora Nkem Akunyili attracted both print and electronic media and they turned their search light on the agency. Many of the drugs and products confiscated were regularly destroyed. Owners were also brought to law court for prosecution. Besides staff members of the agency were put on surveillance to for fake beer, Soft drinks, bottled wine, beverages and other consumables. The hither to lawless pure water owners rushed to the agency to invited. Nafdac staff to conduct laboratory test on their water with a view to registering the water. One other laudable effort of NAFDAC is its regularly publication of drugs that are considered fake, their country of origin and their importers into the country. The activities of Akunyili became boring to peddlers and importers of fake drugs that in December 2002, attempt was made by some people to assassinate her, some of the assassins were later arrested. They confessed that they were after the woman because she had destroyed their business. Also due to her action of getting tought on fake drug trade by seizing their goods they struck back by burning down NAFDAC laboratories and buildings and even went further by burning the NAFDAC headquarters in Abuja.

Today, NAFDAC is a household name. It is no longer a toothless bulldog but a strong and ever biting agency. Unnicall Professor (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili who brought life into NAFDAC has indicated her interest to retire her appointment with NAFDAC she said I am quitting because NAFDAC is wining I am not going because it is hot “this was reported by life magazine, January 14th 2001. She is leaving because oration is loudest now that the agency is wining the war against fake drugs. In light of this development the author of this project decided to study the press and sensitation of the public on fake drugs on Nigeria an evaluation of the coverage of NAFDAC by Nigeria press in the last few years.

 1.1       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to look at the extent to which adulterated expired and fake drug can affect human life by examining the press coverage of Nafdac activities. The study will shed light on the role individuals, government agencies and religions bodies could play in eradicating the menace of fake drugs.

 1.2       Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the result of this will show clearly the extent to which media coverage could help in eradicating illegal trafficking of drug and selling of substandard procedure in Nigeria.   

 1.3       Scope of the Study

This study intends to covers newspaper coverage of NAFDAC in the year. The study will ascertain whether NAFDAC effort at eradicating drug trafficking and fake products has yielding any positive image for Nigeria or NA

 1.4       Limitation of the Study

The stumbling block to the study is the scarcity of literature and materials to get information for the study. Stern looking policemen keeping vigil at the Oshodi Office of NAFDAC Lagos are enough to scare any research or without strong will.

 1.5       Research Questions

In an attempt to solve the problem emanating from this study the following questions are drafted:

  1. Are the Newspaper creating awareness about fake drugs, foods, cosmetics and drinks?
  2. To what extend have the Newspaper helped in exposing organization producing adulterated drugs, food and drinks?
  3. Are the newspapers passing information about seizure and destruction of adulterated products?
  4. What efforts are the Newspaper making in publishing names of organizations closed for producing fake product?
  5. What are the steps taken by the Newspapers towards controlling the production of adulterated drugs foods and drinks?
  6. To what length does the News paper passes information on the damages caused y adulterated products.

 1.6       Statement of the Problem

Issue regarding fake and adulterated product in Nigeria is an important one. Fake and adulterated have products ruined many lives and so cut many lives short and even spoiled the economy. The press is of body that is well concerned about this problem and the only way to measure the commitment of media industry is to examine how it has been following up the activities of the agency (NAFDAC) set up by federal Government to fight the menace of fake and adulterated drugs in the country.

 1.7         Definition of Terms

News: – News is defined as an accurate, authentic and timely report of recent unusual or significant event.  

 Newspaper: – This is a printed daily, weekly or monthly publication containing news report.   

 NAFDAC: – National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and control. National Agency for food and Drugs Administration and control.

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