February 25, 2024

Adulterated Drink: NAFDAC Presses Six Count Charges Against Maker of Japata Bitters

0
Adulterated Drink: NAFDAC Presses Six Count Charges Against Maker of Japata Bitters

The Chief Executive Officer of Chigodson International Company Limited, Sunday Chibuike, producer of Japata Alcoholic Bitters, has been arrested for allegedly using Indian hemp to produce the bitters at Ayobo area of Lagos State, where the factory is located.

Chibuike, was arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court for producing, distributing, selling and dealing in an unregistered alcoholic drink, named Japata.

The defendants, Chibuike and his company, were arraigned alongside one Ekpendu Chizurumoke, on six-count charge by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC), before the Court presided over by Justice Yelim Bogoro.

The prosecutor, Mr. O. M. About, told the Court that the defendants, who were residents 30 Edegbami Offor Isheri-iri Street, and 1 Ashipa Road, Amule Bus Stop, Ayobo, both in Lagos State, were on April 22, 2023, where they producing, possessing, dealing and distributing the said unwholesome alcoholic drink named Japata Alcoholic Bitters.

The prosecutor told the Court that defendants were producing the said alcoholic drink by mixing adulterated drinks with marijuana, but deceitfully labelled it with another product’s label in order to give the wrong impression that the alcoholic drink is an original one.

The prosecutor also told the Court that the offences committed by the defendants were contrary to Section one of the Counterfeit and Fake Drug and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap C34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 3 (1){a) of the same Act.

He also told the court that the defendants’ acts contravened Sections 18 (a)(1) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 18(a)(i) of the same Act. And Section 1(a) and 5(a) of the Food and Drugs Act, Cap F32, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 17 (1) and (2) respectively of the same Act.

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned.
The prosecutor then asked for a trial date to enable the prosecution to prove that the defendants actually committed the alleged offence and urged the Court to remand the defendants pending trial.

But counsel to defendants, Mr. K. U. Ogujuiba, pleaded with the Court to admit his clients on bail, saying that their bail applications have been filed and served on the prosecutor.

The prosecutor in response, told the Court that he was served with the bail applications while in Court and he needs time to reply to the applications.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Bogoro, after listening to both the prosecutor and the defence lawyer, adjourned the matter to 9th September, 2023, for trial and ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).

The judge however, said the parties can come up once they are ready to argue the bail application.
Part of the charges read:

“That you, Sunday Chibiuke, Male, Adult and Chigodson International Company Ltd both of No. 30 Edegbami Offor Isheri-iri Street, Lagos State on or about the 22th day of April, 2022, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did produce unwholesome processed food to wit: Japata Alcoholic Bitters unlabelled mixture and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 of the Counterfeit and Fake Drug and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap C34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 3 (1){a) of the same Act.

“That you, Sunday Chibiuke, Male, Adult and Chigodson International Company Limited both of No. 30 Edegbami Offor Isheri-iri Street, Lagos State and Ekpendu Chizurumoke, Male, Adult of 1 Ashipa Road, Amule Bus Stop, Ayobo, Lagos State On or about the 22th day of April, 2022, at No 30 Edegbami Offor Isheri-iri Street, Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did label a food to wit: Japata Alcoholic Bitters Unlabelled mixture in a manner that is likely to create a wrong impression as to is composition and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 5 (a) of the Food and Drugs Act, Cap F32, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 17 (1) and (2) respectively of the same Act.”

Recall, in 2022, The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said the content of Japata Alcoholic Bitters in circulation is more harmful than the one submitted for testing and registration.

NAFDAC revealed this in a statement on in August 2022 advising Nigerians to be watchful of the products they consume.

This is the second time NAFDAC is raising concerns over Japata, an alcoholic drink produced by Chigodson International Company Ltd., in four months.

“An alcoholic bitters product that is of grave concern is Japata Alcoholic bitters, which was duly registered by NAFDAC but laced with marijuana or cannabis compared to the registered product that had only ethanol. Through intelligence, NAFDAC was able to shut down the company. This product, when tested in the laboratory, caused the death of the mice within five minutes,” NAFDAC wrote on its website.

“The alcoholic content was doubled compared with the registered product. The retained samples, kept at the point of registration, did not cause any injury to the animals.

Japata Bitters

“The product laced with cannabis was said to cause altered state of mind and psychological problems to the user. The owner of the company is on the run and the matter has been shared with NDLEA.”

NAFDAC also listed Five Minutes Power, Gamzaki Tradomedical, Barakallahu, Sabon Karfi and Haonu Laha herbal mixtures as harmful liquor sold to the public.

Haonu Laha Herbal Mixture is registered with NAFDAC but laced with unapproved substances that are injurious to the body.

A considerable section of the male population consumes alcoholic bitters as a regular drink. Some consumers claim that these alcoholic bitters have health benefits, but there is no proof for such claims.

Many of such alcoholic bitters are sold in public places without regulation and restriction.

Leave a Reply