The Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has accused some National Assembly members of demanding bribe during their oversight of her agency.
She said they also asked the agency for N35 million for Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign; a programme clearly outside their job description, and only meant to save the lives of Nigerian children against drug abuse.
The DG, who stated this during the 25th Anniversary Celebration of NAFDAC held in Lagos last weekend, said her agency’s budget defence has been suspended because she didn’t allow for extortion, adding that it was a shame that some members of the National Assembly were still extorting money from ministries, departments and agencies of government.
She said: “On December 20, just less than a month into my tenure, they (National Assembly members) came for oversight function in NAFDAC, and I showed them that about 70 per cent of our equipment is not working, and that we need over 50 vehicles for our inspections, and that my directors do not have computers. They then asked if they can go into my office, I said fine. We got in, and they said they needed welfare, I said what? Are you kidding me? I told them I don’t spend money that I don’t have, and if I do, I would rather spend it on needs, and that there were models in this country that brought me up that way.
“They then told me they wanted Yuletide. I said what is Yuletide; they said it was five days to Christmas. I told them if they wanted hamper, they said no, that what they want was welfare. They said my body language was telling them I was going to give them money, I told them they got it wrong, that I won’t give them money.
She said before she resumed office, she got a call from a staff that someone from the National Assembly was asking for N35 million to do Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign, adding that she told the staff she was not going to release such money because National Assembly does not do drug abuse campaign.
“I said no, the money is not leaving our purse because it is meant for drug abuse awareness campaign. They pressed hard, but I said we are not releasing that money because it is meant to save our children.
“Somebody like me from the United States came and was talking like this, and in one year you all got him out of the system. I told them this is my country and it belongs to all of us. I have the right to this country and I have the right to make Nigeria proud. We have to start somewhere. We are celebrating NAFDAC now because I didn’t allow what was going on to continue, which is extortion,” she said.
Adeyeye said when she started her career about 30 years ago in the US, she was thought to have her organisation at heart first before her pocket, but that back in Nigeria, the reverse was the case, adding that in NAFDAC, they are now doing brainwashing and that her directors and staff were responding well to the new pattern, as that was part of the reason the agency has been able to clear its debts.
Reeling out some of the achievements of NAFDAC since her resumption, the DG said when she came on board; the organisation was in debt of about N3.2 billion, but that through the blocking of leakages, they have been able to pay N3 billion from the amount.
“I restructured and started blocking holes where money was licking. And in one year we have paid back N3 billion. That is why we are celebrating. I was at a drug approval meeting in February of last year, and I asked how many pending applications do we have, they said 6, 000. I was very surprised. I gave them 60 days ultimatum. We cleared the backlog in two months. That is why we are celebrating.”