The Nasarawa State chapter of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), in collaboration with Department of State Security (DSS) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have arrested a codeine baron in Lafia.
This was disclosed in a news conference in Lafia on Thursday by Mr Okpalaeke Nwora, the Officer in charge of PCN in the state.
According to Nwora, they had been on the trail of the baron, Amaechi Okoronkwo since 2015 but were just able to apprehend him and his assistant, Frederick Uchenna.
He revealed that the two were apprehended at a shop along UAC road in Lafia on Dec. 18, 2017 after careful monitoring and trailing, with 11 cartons of codeine syrup containing 660 bottles.
The monetary value of the drugs were put at N700,000.
“This arrest took place on Dec. 18, 2017 at Amaechi Okoronkwo’s unnamed patent medicine shop in Lafia and if you must know, patent medicine shops or dealers are not allowed to stock or sell codeine containing cough syrups,” He explained.
“He has been apprehended and further investigations have commenced. The PCN, under the
leadership of Mr Elijah Mohammed, will continue to make efforts to ensure that our society is rid of such elements.”
“In the course of our investigation, we discovered that this product (codeine) of various brands are being supplied to Lafia from Onitsha.
“You are aware that PCN and Federal Ministry of Health have been pushing for the dismantling of all open drug markets across the country.
“If these open drug markets are allowed to stay, we will continue to have chaotic distribution of drugs in Nigeria, meaning that the wrong persons will have the opportunity to handle all sorts of drugs and pharmaceutical products dangerous for the society.”
The officer noted that after investigations and all due process have been followed, the culprit would be charged to court in accordance with the laws of the land to serve as deterrent to others.
He further admitted that Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN), the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other relevant agencies were facing massive challenges in curtailing the abuse of codeine and other substances by youths especially in the northern region of the country.
“There was a huge challenge with codeine cough syrup in Nigeria, especially in the north and Nasarawa State in particular.
“This ugly challenge is trying to destroy youths in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the PCN is working on modalities to combat the menace.”