By: Kemi Busari and Phillip Anjorin
Widespread concerns have trailed DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES’ recent investigation of the popular herbal product; Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine.
While many Nigerians called for an outright ban of the product, some others passionately urged regulatory agencies, such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to live up to its responsibility of gatekeeping production of consumables to keep Nigerians safe.
On Saturday, DUBAWA published an investigation on one of the most popular herbal products consumed by millions of Nigerians.
After a five-month-long probe, DUBAWA found that the product, which carries two invalid NAFDAC registration numbers, is a huge safety risk to users.
Laboratory analysis indicated that continuous consumption of the concoction could lead to acute kidney, lung and liver injuries.
The investigation also placed health regulatory bodies under criticism, as it revealed their ineffectiveness in carrying out their responsibilities to the citizens and consumers of such products.
The investigation, which had garnered millions of views on social media platforms, has awakened Nigerians in a renewed call for decisive action on Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine and other harmful substances sold in the country.
NAFDAC urged to take action
Florence Ozor (@florenceozor) took a dig at NAFDAC. She expressed disappointment in the agency for not doing enough to earn her trust.
“Our absolute trust in NAFDAC is misplaced and dangerous. NAFDAC is not doing enough with medicinal and skincare concoction sellers. Lord have mercy,” she wrote, quoting the author’s tweet.
Journalist Kunle Adebajo (@KunleAdebajo) is hopeful the regulatory agency will take action on the findings in the report.
“Really great work, sir! Let’s hope NAFDAC takes action after this. Healthcare in this country is in shambles,” he tweeted.
Similarly, Twitter user EAS (@sololeke) also wants NAFDAC to act swiftly.
“@DGatNAFDAC kindly follow up with this investigative report and act accordingly,” his tweet reads in part.
Anibe Idajili’s comments were in the same line of thought.
“This was really an eye-opener. I can imagine the fear that would be gripping those who have taken this herbal potion. People dying slowly because of ignorance and poverty. I hope NAFDAC does something about this soon. Well done, Kemi!,” she wrote.
Another user, Valentine Ezike (@onyenjuta), gave the agencies another chance, though pessimistic about the possible outcome.
He said, “Kudos to the investigative journalist who championed this. But will any good come out of it? Over to the authorities.”
Call for arrest
A few commenters believe the producer of the concoction should be prosecuted for selling harmful products.
President Oaikhena GCFR (@FabszekOaikhena) did not only call for a shutdown of the production of the harmful concoction, but he also urged the Nigeria Police to arrest the producer.
“Good job Mr. @kemi_busari. I hope @NafdacAgency will swing into action ASAP and shut down the production of that poison. I hope @PoliceNG will arrest the so-called Baba Aisha. He can’t just continue to sell poison to #Nigerians,” he tweeted.
On Facebook, Comr Na’eem Nguroje also called for the producer’s arrest.
“DSS should arrest him; he’s dangerous more than Emefiele,” he wrote in response to the investigation.
Since the publication of the investigation over 48 hours ago, NAFDAC is yet to react to solid allegations levelled against them.
This position is worrying to Khalid M IBRAHIM (@Mikhalid079).
“@NafdacAgency your silence us deafening,” the user tweeted.