Posted on February 23, 2017
Niyi Odebode, Success Nwogu and Anna Okon
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control says it has sent samples of the Indian-packaged garri on sale in Nigeria to the laboratory for preliminary testing in order to determine whether the product is healthy for consumption or not.
The spokesperson for the agency, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, disclosed this to one of our correspondents in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
He said, “Samples of the garri have been sent to the laboratory for testing. The marketers have confessed that the product was packaged in the United Kingdom and exported to Ghana from where it was brought to Nigeria.
“But we are looking beyond that into the possibility that some Nigerians must have packaged the garri and put a foreign label on it in order to attract buyers.”
According to him, NAFDAC could not have licensed the product, adding that the agency was at the forefront of promoting value addition to Nigeria’s agricultural produce and also encouraging their export.
Nigerians had reacted with shock and outrage on Monday when pictures surfaced online of Indian-packaged garri found on sale in a store in Ikoyi.
Following the circulation of the pictures, the Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, said officers of the agency visited the store and seized 26 packs of the product.
She said, “Investigation is ongoing on the imported Indian garri. It does not have NAFDAC number and was not registered by NAFDAC; it is said to be a product from Ghana but packaged in the United Kingdom.
“We are investigating to know the source of entry into the Nigerian market. We will only promote cassava made in Nigeria; it is a staple food in Nigeria and it should earn us foreign exchange and not from anybody else.”
Oni appealed for patience from Nigerians on the outcome of the investigation, adding, “Thorough investigation is not one we will rush into as a scientific organisation. Please exercise patience and we will speak at the appropriate time.”