A syndicate notorious for importing crusader soap containing mercury into the country illegally has been detained by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
This information was released on Friday in Lagos by Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC.
Adeyeye claimed that the group brought the item into the country using fake customs documents.
The importation of the soap was previously prohibited by NAFDAC because it contained mercury, but Adeyeye claims that the soap is now available in supermarkets and cosmetic shops all over the nation.
“In the course of its regulatory activities, the investigation and enforcement (I&E) Directorate of NAFDAC has discovered a syndicate that specialises in importing banned crusader soaps containing mercury.
“The syndicate used forged customs documents to import the product into the country and further investigation through the ports shows that the banned crusader soap was imported seven times in 2021 alone.
“Each consignment is not less than three containers with 4,500 cartons of the soap.
“These products have found their way into various supermarkets and cosmetic shops with unsuspecting members of the public patronising them.
“Acting on intelligence, our investigation and enforcement team in August 2023 busted a warehouse in Trade Fair Market, which was filled with the banned imported soaps.
”Three trailer-loads of imported crusader medicated soap and mekako soap totaling 4,000 cartons by 12 packs by 12 tablet soap were evacuated from the warehouse, while some suspects were arrested in connection with the case.
“The street value of the evacuated products is approximately one billion Naira.”
She explained that the successful raid on the warehouse came after three unsuccessful efforts, during which the cartel repeatedly moved the shipment of soaps to various parts of Lagos in an effort to thwart the discovery.
She claims that Chief Peter Obih, the primary suspect, during questioning claimed to have purchased the product's franchise from a business and produced a defunct NAFDAC license that had been provided for local manufacture of the product following the product's ban in Nigeria.
Adeyeye pointed out that since the alleged registration in 2013, not a single bar of soap had been produced in Nigeria.