The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Gombe Zonal office has handed over 26 suspects arrested for production and sale of adulterated palm oil in Gombe, to the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
The suspects Yahaya Sanusi, Mohammed Abubakar, Nasiru Bappa, Bello Ahmed, Emeka Oppah, Theophilus Samuel, Auwalu Abubakar, Monday John, Chindo Garba, Mohammed Umar, Dauda Mohammed, Anas Musa C, Umar Friday, Abbayo Musa, Hamisu Mohammed, Ali Garba, Inuwa Auwal, Tukur Adamu, Ahmad Usman, Emmanuel Etuk, Auwal Iliya, Ejike Samuel, Peter Ndubuisi, Babangida Yerima, Giginna Alphonsus and Usman Musa were picked up October 17 in Gombe market.
They allegedly adulterated palm oil with yet to be identified chemical before selling same to unsuspecting members of the public as genuine.
The head of EFCC Gombe Zonal office, DCDS Michael Wetkas, told journalists that the Commission acted on an intelligence report, adding that some of the suspects were in the process of mixing palm oil with the said substances when they were apprehended. A total of 33 shops were sealed during the operation.
He said that the Commission informed the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC about the arrest as issues of food adulteration and unwholesome products fall within the purview of the agency.
Before handing over the suspects and the keys to the sealed shops to NAFDAC officials, DCDS Wetkas called on the public to partner with the Commission to rid the market and Gombe State of unwholesome products to protect the health and wellbeing of the people.
The Gombe State Coordinator of NAFDAC, who was represented by Laras Jatau, Assistant Chief Regulatory Officer, expressed surprise at the arrest, noting that his agency, especially during World Food Day, had been educating the people on the hazards of deliberate adulteration of food products.
“It is really disturbing that after such lectures, someone will still go ahead to do a thing such as this; this is crime against humanity”, he said.
Jatau however pledged that NAFDAC will not relent in its sensitisation efforts and surveillance across the markets in the state.
He assured that the suspects would be handed to the agency’s investigative arm, for further investigation