A federal high court in Asaba, Delta State, has sentenced a graduate of Economics to a jail term for marketing counterfeit malaria drugs in the state. An alumnus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Osita Paul Ely was arrested by NAFDAC officials in 2015 and arraigned on a seven-count charge of possessing, packaging, importing, labeling, and distribution of fake and unregistered drugs.
The prosecution argued Osita had breached Section 1 of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act CAP C34 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 3(a) of the same act.
Although Osita denied being involved in the charges, he agreed to be in possession of certain drugs when he was caught. Some of the drugs are Rysovin 500 Buscomac 10mg, Maloxine, Lumartem, and Lofnac 100 among others.
“A graduate of Economics should be looking at ways of growing our economy and not increasing the population of people at the hospitals, mortuaries and cemeteries. This is an abuse of the privilege of education,” ruled Justice A. O Faji of the court while delivering judgement.
The presiding judge noted that a graduate of Economics ought to have been empowered with the knowledge and skills to create jobs or engage in legitimate endeavours and not engage in acts that could endanger the health of millions of Nigeria and send them to an early grave.
Noting that the counterfeit drugs lacked active ingredients needed to make them effective when administered on patients, Justice Faji said the drugs were also not registered by the appropriate health agencies and thousands more Nigerians would have been in danger if Osita was not arrested.
The presiding judge sentenced Osita to five years jail term, the minimum sentence for the offence under the Act.