Operatives of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday stormed the premises of Sacra Multi-Links Limited, where the popular herbal product, Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine, is being produced.
The operation follows an expose by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES on the product sold to millions of Nigerians.
The investigation, published on Saturday, June 10, shed light on the content, safety and regulatory framework guiding the production and sale of the herbal product consumed by many Nigerians.
After a five-month-long probe, DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES found that the product carries two invalid NAFDAC registration numbers and is a huge safety risk to users.
Extensive laboratory analysis also indicates that continuous consumption of the concoction could lead to acute kidney, lung and liver injuries.
The investigation placed NAFDAC in the spotlight as public members questioned how the producer got his initial registration done without meeting basic requirements, among other infractions.
The investigation also revealed that the herbal concoction is being produced in a residential building against the dictates of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) prescribed by NAFDAC.
NAFDAC on Wednesday informed these newspapers it had launched a probe into our findings.
The operation was led by Umar Sulaiman, the Team leader (Federal Task Force), Investigative and Enforcement, NAFDAC. Details of the operation were reported by some media platforms.
The operation was carried out within the premises of Sacra Multi-Links Limites in Tafa, a town along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
Although PREMIUM TIMES and DUBAWA were not part of the operation, the commission’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abubakar Jimoh confirmed it.
Mr Sulaiman said the operation was conducted following recent complaints they received about the factory.
“We went into action after investigations and had the factory raided. The factory is called Sacramultilink Ltd., owned by Dr Salisu Sani, Nawagini Baban Aisha, who sells herbal medicine.
“We are all here for one purpose and that is to safeguard the health of the nation. Upon our arrival here, we found a lot of violations of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), the production of herbal medicine with expired licences.
“We also witnessed an illegal production of some of the products which have not been registered with NAFDAC, along with poor hygiene practices, and that is why we took this step.
“We are going to seal this place and arrest any responsible officer here,” he said.
Mr Sulaiman’s comments confirm our investigation, which revealed that the outlook of the building and its residential status already fall short of the dictates of the GMP.
The team leader also noted that although the producer got registration for one of his products in 2018, the registration has since expired, and instead of renewing it, Baba Aisha keeps using it for other products he is producing in the building.
“He had gone ahead to produce other products, placing the same approved number for a particular product on other products. This is not right. It is not in best practices,” Mr Sulaiman said.
Our investigation shows that the registration being referred to here was done in a shady manner as the producer did not fulfil basic requirements. NAFDAC is yet to respond to allegations of possible internal connivance in the registration process.
He added that despite the commission’s efforts to get Baba Aisha to operate at the approved standard, the producer always goes back to his harmful production ways.
Alluding to our investigation, Mr Sulaiman said some renovation works noticed at the factory were a result of an expose by investigative journalist Kemi Busari.
Factory sealed; items confiscated
The Kaduna State Coordinator of NAFDAC, Nasiru Mato, explained that Baba Aisha has failed to fill out compliance papers qualifying him for renewal since 2018.
He added that the factory doesn’t conform with the dictates of GMP, and other complaints informed the decision of the commission to seal his factory.
“So, under this condition, we had no option but to seal the entire premises and evacuate all related equipment and facilities used for production.
“GMP is a criteria for product registration. It must meet laid down standard,” Mr Mato said.
Daily Nigeria reports some of the equipment moved away from the factory include; one HD injection polythene (25kg), and one HDPE polythene (25kg).
The team also took away sacks with labels, Hana big box scale, speakers used in advertising the products, a workmaster heat gun, and packaging bottles.
Other items are three pieces of portrait photographs, three copies of the sales book, two packets of receipt booklet and four burning kettles.