NAFDAC Warns Against Trading In Banned Gases

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has read riot acts to traders and importers bringing or trading in banned refrigerant gases in the country.

The agency, however, warned that anyone found guilty of trading in the banned substance would be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Speaking yesterday when the agency raided the refrigerator and cooling part dealers’ market, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, the deputy director, Agrochemicals and Controlled Chemicals, Divisions of Chemical Evaluation and Research Directorate, NAFDAC, Dr. Festus Ukadike, said the exercise was part of its mandate to control and regulate the importation, manufacture, sales, and use of chemicals, among other regulated products in the country such as food, drugs, cosmetics, and detergents.

According to the agency, the banned refrigerant gases in the country are R123, R124, R406, and R12. It is believed that some of them have an impact on global warming, hence the need to regulate them in with the demands of the Montreal Protocol, to which Nigeria is a signatory.

 Ukadike, said the whole effort is to bring everybody that is involved in chemicals into regulations.

He said, “this is not the first time we have carried out enforcement operations of this kind. It is something we do regularly, not aimed at making an arrest, but for public enlightenment, sensitization of stakeholders, and teaching stakeholders to do it right because it will be in everyone’s interest if they can get it right.”

Ukadike further urged the traders to obtain the necessary permits so that we can visit their warehouse to know if they can deal with the gases or have the technical know-how to bring the right gases into the country.

“We want to be able to apportion and not overshoot the quantities of gas into the country. Because some of these gases are being stepped down and stepped out, it is a gradual process, and we want to work with them so that we can report back to the Federal Ministry of the Environment on the number of permits for products we have issued because the market is highly regulated, not for all comers affairs, and we will not be happy if the people take the law into their hands and start importation without authorization from NAFDAC, that we will not condone.”

On the traders’ part, the chairman of the Cooling Part Dealers Association, Arinze Chukwuke, said that as an association, they will always cooperate with government agencies because they are doing their job.

The chairman, however, pleaded with the agency to always sensitise them to what is not invoked or things we can work with.

He said, “Most of us did not know anything about listing permits until now. If we can continue to hold seminars or dialogue with the authority because we are only doing our business as traders and buying from importers without knowing the risk involved. So we need to be educated on what is legal and what is banned.

“Our joy is that none of our members were assaulted or molested; they only brought an update on what is legal and what is illegal. We advised our members to seek a listing permit from the government authorities such as NAFDAC and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) so that we do not witness this kind of situation again.”


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