Following the Senate’s Roundtable on Drug Use Crisis in Nigeria, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, reiterated that the country needs a strong and effective National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to safeguard the health of the nation and eliminate the production and distribution of drugs and other illegal substances in the country.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, made the remarks when the newly appointed Director General of the NAFDAC, Dr. Moji Adeyeye, led the management of the agency on a visit to the Senate in Abuja.
The President of the Senate said that the National Assembly is ready to support the new Director General to reposition the agency especially in tackling the illegal demand, supply and abuse of controlled drugs for the benefit of the health and safety of all Nigerians.
He also urged the management and staff of the agency to support the new DG in her bid to reposition and make the agency more vibrant and alive to its mandate — as the lead department of the Federal Government that is in charge of regulating the quality of food, drugs and other products that are imported, exported and used by Nigerians.
“You are a person who has been successful in her career and who has an antecedent of being transparent, professional, honest and being ready to serve,” Saraki said to Dr. Moji Adeyeye, “We now have a DG that has come to serve — and not a DG who has come to be served.”
“The country is excited about that and a lot of responsibilities come with this. On a very serious note, I must tell you that you bring a lot of experience, exposure and even by your comments today, I can see a lot of passion,” Saraki said.
While appealing to the top echelon of the agency to support the new DG to reposition the organization, Saraki said: “This is somebody who has come with great passion and you have to adjust and I can promise you that we are going to give her all the support.
“In fighting corruption, we will give her all the support. In budgeting, we will give her all the support. She said during the time of Dora Akunyili, she had Obasanjo, she (Dr. Adeyeye) has the National Assembly not just the Senate. Please give her all the support because we need a strong and effective NAFDAC.
“I just came back from Kano and we had a session there on drug abuse where a lot of our women and girls are taking things like Codeine, Tramadol and engaging in all manner of drug abuse because we are not effective in the area of drug control.
“It is important for us as a country to get NAFDAC working. It is not a place that is popular. If you are going to do the work right, then you cannot be popular.
“But we need it for the health and safety of our people and as such, we will give you all the support that is required. We will give you support because NAFDAC is important for the country and for all of us,” Saraki stated.
Earlier, Dr. Adeyeye told the President of the Senate that she is poised to reposition NAFDAC and ensure that it lives up to its mandate of ensuring quality and correct use of drugs as well as eliminating unwholesome food products in the country.
He called on the National Assembly to support the agency in tackling the myriad of challenges assailing her which she listed to include motivation for workers, well-equipped laboratories, modern communication facilities, frequent friction between NAFDAC and sister agencies as well as NAFDAC’s indebtedness to the tune of N3billion.
“I came to resume about two weeks ago and as soon as I got in I started facing challenges that have resulted from years of lack of focus,” Dr. Adeyeye said. “I told the House Committee yesterday that a new sheriff is in town. It will not be business as usuall. There are many things that we could do better for the health of our nation.”