Tougher sanctions for food, drug offenders 

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has passed a bill seeking to amend the Food, Drugs and Related Products Act through its second reading.

According to the sponsor of the bill, Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) the new amendments intend to increase the fine for violators of the Act and confer jurisdiction on the High Court to try offenses under this Act.

While leading the debate on the bill, Apiafi quoted a World Health Organization report in 2011, which noted that over 64% of anti malaria drugs in the country were illegal, a figure she translated to over N75 billion in revenue annually to illegal operators worldwide.

She also highlighted the current opioid crisis strangling the nation as a major reason to review the Act, which has not been amended in 25 years.

The bill seeks to amend section 6 of the principal act, by increasing the N50,000 fine for individuals convicted under the act to N500,000, while increasing the N200,000 fine for corporate bodies to N2,000,000.

The bill also seeks to confer jurisdiction on State High Courts, allowing them to try offenders under the act by amending section 9 of the principal act.

Other lawmakers who spoke in favour of the bill, advocated for jail terms to be added to the sanction.

Jimoh Olajide (APC, Lagos) said that the fine for corporate entities should be increased to N25m plus prison time, an upgrade to another Lagos lawmaker’s point, Rotimi Agunsoye (PDP, Lagos), who called for N10m for public entities.

When the bill was put to vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara the “ayes” had it, and it was referred to the Committee of the Whole for further legislative action.

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