After losing his fiercest battle against the importation and control of fake drugs, Paul Orhi, the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is faced with yet another task of defending allegations of corruption against his liaison officer, Aishat Okpa, who until recently was in charge of the Lagos liaison office of the Agency.
In a petition to the Economic and Financial crimes commission, EFCC made available to our correspondent, a staff of the Agency who did not want his name mentioned accused Aishat, a former personal Assistant to the Director General of operating a syndicate within the Agency in collaboration with the Director General.
According to the petitioner, the underground job started in the agency after Aishat took over the Lagos office, and has since then been coordinating the free flow of fake Drugs into Nigeria.
A breakthrough into Aishat’s illegal dealings however, came when a whopping sum of N700m was allegedly traced to one of her account in one of the new generation Banks in Lagos.
Promptly the discovery according to our sources was reported to the EFCC and the Account placed under watch.
Investigations into the Account according to the petitioner indeed established definite connections between Aishat and her fake drug Dealers. For instance last year, several transactions were said to have been made on the account by those suspected to be perpetrating this dastardly act.
According to the petitioner, on an average day, work for Dr. Orhi begins with Aishat and most times ends with her. Aishat as personal Assistant to Dr. Orhi runs the personal business of Dr Orhi and was by far the most important personal Assistant to the Director General.
Aishat, a former staff of Zenith Bank because of her relationship with the Director General, resigned from the Bank to pick up appointment with NAFDAC as personal Assistant to Paul orhi. Her resignation from her lucrative job at the Zenith Bank was said to have shocked many staff of the Agency who were aware of her lucrative job at Zenith Bank.
Dr. Orhi was then said to have redeployed her to the Lagos liaison office as head of liaison, a position which placed her in a vantage position to coordinate and supervise the inspection of Drugs.
The details of Aishat’s fraudulent deals are already before the EFCC.
Allegations are rife that Dr. paul Orhi, has been under pressure by the drug cartels not to fire Aishat, but he was said to have insisted that the “evidence” against her is overwhelming that either “she resigns or I sack her because it will affect my career and all I have achieved in NAFDAC” an insider quoted the Director General as saying.
The source also claimed that the Board has deliberately refused to act on the matter even when it was brought to its attention. The chairman of the Board, Dr, Ibur, a former commissioner in Benue state is from Benue state like Dr. Orhi and Aishat Okpa
Indeed the appointment of Dr paul Orhii, as the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) by late president Umar Musa Ya’aradua, in January, 2009 was greeted with a wide spread condemnation. The fear, which transcended the nation’s boundary, emanated from the concern that he will not be able to carry on with the crusade against fake Drugs both in Nigeria and the West African sub region in a manner similar to his predecessor, Professor Dora Akunyili.
The former DG’s initiative had given birth to the West African Drugs Regulatory Authorities Network (WADRAN). The establishment of WADRAN became imperative when it was discovered that blockage against counterfeit drugs coming into Nigeria by NAFDAC had made importers and manufacturers of fake drugs to divert their products to other west African countries . In spite of Akunyili’s exploit in NAFDAC she knew a daunting challenge still awaits her successor in office.