The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday in Ibadan sealed off a warehouse and five shops with over 1, 500 kegs of contraband vegetable oil.
This followed a simultaneous operation by the enforcement team of the agency at the popular Agbeni and Bodija Markets in the metropolis, who arrested three suspects while two escaped.
The kegs of the contraband vegetable oil carried the brand name “Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil”.
Over 700 kegs of the prohibited oil were found inside the warehouse located at the Agbeni Market.
One of the suspects, a 23-year-old graduate, Tunde Ayeni, said that he was running the warehouse for his mother who he referred to as “Alhaja”.
Ayeni, however, refused to give any further statements, saying he would exercise his right to a lawyer.
It was also observed that in the warehouse, the process of re-bagging and rebranding of expired rice in new sacks labelled “Rising Sun Parboiled Rice” was ongoing upon the arrival of the operatives.
While addressing journalists shortly after the exercise, a Chief Regulatory Officer of the agency, Mr Idowu-Folorunsho Joseph, said that the operation followed intelligence reports and surveillance.
Idowu-Folorunsho, who is a member of the NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate in Lagos, said that the consumption of uncertified and contraband foods could pose serious health hazards to people.
“Our operation today at Agbeni and Bodija Markets is to mop up sales of unregistered vegetable oil, particularly the Moi-Gold Oil.
“This has been smuggled through the land border and is sold in the market without being tested and certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC or any approved laboratory.
“We wish to sensitise people to the fact that Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil is not registered by NAFDAC and it is on the import prohibition list of the Nigerian Customs Service,” he said.
The official said that the revalidating, refilling, re-bagging and re-branding of “caked rice” damaged bags of rice was illegal and a violation of NAFDAC regulations.
It gathered that the Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil, which comes in 25 litre kegs sells for N6, 200, while other certified brands of vegetable oil, also in 25 litres are sold for N6, 50