Officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)  disrupted the ‘unveiling’ of an anti – coronavirus herbal syrup in Abeokuta, Ogun State. They equally went ahead to inspect the product’s factory and sealed it indefinitely.

Branded “Oxibiotics”, the syrup produced by a herbal medicine expert, Paul Oni, was to be “unveiled” at a briefing at Centenary Hall, Ake, Abeokuta, on Thursday afternoon, but the NAFDAC officials from the state’s office stormed the venue and ordered the cancellation of the programme. A top official of  NAFDAC told our correspondent that the programme was stopped because the product has not been certified scientifically. The official who pleaded anonymity added that the herb producer had plotted to release the herbs to the public without the knowledge of the agency. “The producer is a client. He knows the procedures having secured NAFDAC number for some of his products on two different occasions.

“But this product, in particular, has not passed through the NAFDAC processes. “Besides, he did breach advertisement control policy by advertising the product. “And he deliberately did not invite us to the programme. If truly it’s a certified product he would have invited us. “So, we got the hint this morning, that was why we went there to stop the programme. We equally went to his factory and sealed the factory,” the senior official said. Speaking with newsmen, the herbal medicine expert denied bypassing the agency’s procedures but said the programme was meant to seek partnership, support and raise fund for the product to undergo the proper processes and certification.

Oni, who is the Managing Director of Peculiar Projects Nigeria Limited, explained that he only produced a few numbers of the herbal syrup to showcase to the newsmen and not in large quantity for sale. He described the herb as “anti-viral and anti – malignant agent” capable of curing COVID – 19. Oni, who is a retired military officer, said all efforts to secure partnership and support of the Minister of Health and other major stakeholders have not yielded positive results. “The normal cost that you will incur in going through the NAFDAC process is about N600,000 which does not include the clinical trials of N1.5 million. “So, when I saw the cost, I concluded that I should seek for help through a press conference. I am sure this herb can help people that have contracted COVID-19. “Maybe through that people will come to help me, NAFDAC will come to help me and give me a weaver. “Nigeria Institute for Medical Research will hear what I have said about them and they will come and assist me. ” This was the purpose of the press conference, I have not produced the Oxibiotics for sale, I just have a couple of bottles that I want to show NAFDAC and to Nigeria Institute for Medical Research as sample,” he said.

Oni, however, said he remains undeterred by the action of the agency, expressing his readiness to ensure the product eventually see the light of the day.