Osokogu: FG to Ban ‘Date Rape Drug’

Osokogu: FG to Ban ‘Date Rape Drug’
The federal government is set to ban the sale of rohypnol, otherwise known clinically as Flunitrazepam, a sedative with hypnotic effect that was used to lull late Miss Cynthia Osokogu to complacency while she was gang raped and later killed.
About two months ago four accused persons, Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo (33), Ejike Ilechukwu Olisaeloka (23), Orji Osita (32) and Maduakor Chukwunonso (25) were paraded by the police in Lagos for the murder of Osokogu.
Later two of them, Nwabufor and Olisaeloka told the police, about how they they met, drugged and strangled the victim in order to steal her money.
Minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu told State House correspondent yesterday at the end of the weekly Federal Excutive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja that the decision was informed by the need to curb the disastrous use of the drug, which has also been banned in some countries where it was used for similar purposes.
Also described as a ‘date rape drug’ rohypnol is sold off the counter in many countries across the globe.
Act No. 43 of 1989 which established the National Drug Formulary and Essential Drugs List empowers it to prohibit importation into and manufacture in Nigeria of any drug not in the List.
Prof. Chukwu said his ministry has directed the National Drug Formulary and Essential Drug List Committee to look into the possibility of banning the drug or otherwise.
According to the minister: “I have directed the appropriate body which is the National Drug Formulary and Essential Drug List Committee, which is established by a separate law in this country to immediately look into whether we should ban the drug or not.
He explained that this decision is informed by the fact that “in some countries, that drug has now been banned and it was also for similar reason (rape) that those countries decided to ban that particular drug.”
The FEC, presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday approved the establishment of the Nigeria National Pharmacovigilance Policy (NNPP) to ensure that adverse adverse drug reactions are properly managed.
The minister said “there is need for reporting, adequate records, follow up and collection of data on the issue,” adding that the policy “has the backing of the health board, the National Council of Health (NCH), the highest policy making organ in the sector.” Before it was presented to the FEC.
His words: “Today at the federal executive council, the council approved the Nigerian National Pharmacovigilance Policy. It is a policy to ensure that adverse drug reactions are properly managed in this country. And in managing adverse drug reactions, there is need for prompt reporting, and for the reporting to be made to the appropriate authority. There is need for documentation of such report. There is need for follow up of such report. There is also need for clear guidelines as to how such report will be investigated . Three is also need for further research to be done, which will entail the collection of data from across different centres. The policy has actually been approved by the National Council on Health at its 55th meeting in July.”
“The normal process should be that aft the National council on Health which is the highest policy formulation body in the health sector that involves not only the federal government but also the states government. Once they approved any policy, then it has to be sent to FEC for final approval.
The policy will be formally Implemented by the National Pharmaco-Vigilance centre which is located within the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).it will help this country to begin to address issues that are often being ignored,” Prof. Onyebuchi emphasized.
He added: “We want to have an organized way of monitoring this reactions so much that Nigerians will be sure that there health are well taking care of.all that are required to begin Implementation are in place. The professional bodies that regulate drugs are already in place. They must be reinforced to continue to do their work.”On the ongoing road construction affected by the flood, the minister said government is still trying to get the assessment of the damage will come after the flood would have receded.

The initial road Council also approved the award of contract for consultancy services for the engineering design for the extension of the east-west road. According to the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, the contract is for the fourth segment of the extensive road from Oron in Akwa -Ibom state to Calabar in Cross River state.
Scheduled to be completed within nine months, the proposed highway is a dual carriage way from the end of the on-going east-west road, which the minister said “when completed will reduce journey time from any section of the east west road to Calabar, opening up access to riverine areas and communities and leveraging their full economic potentials. With the completion of the road, the transformation of the east west road would have been completed.”