Persons with disabilities seek renewed fight against counterfeiting
APART from the absence of key government agencies and speakers at the event, which as usual reflected the long neglect and discrimination of persons with disabilities, the lecture, which focused on fake and counterfeit products was a huge success, being a cursory appraisal of corruption in foods, health and its attendant impact on the economic well-being of the citizens.
It was another bold step by National Handicap Carers Association of Nigeria (NAHCAN), an organisation formed in 1998 to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities and to sensitise Nigerians and its members on the impact of adulterated foods and counterfeit drugs, household appliances and other goods on their well being.
Curiously, representatives of government agencies like the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others saddled with the responsibility of fighting fake and counterfeit products were absent at the event which held recently at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos.
The President of NAHCAN, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, noted that the fight against fake drugs was really a collective one, hence the need to sensitise the public on the danger of fake products, since a cursory appraisal of some of Nigeria’s biggest problems revolved and focused on corruption in which manufacturing of fakes and counterfeit goods are allowed to thrive with its concomitant effect on people’s health and economic well-being.
According to him, although representatives of the government agencies were invited as part of activities making Year 2015 Disability Awareness Week to speak on the theme: “Impact of expired/ fake/ substandard goods and products on Health and Wellness of the Citizens”, issues that affect the public, especially persons with disabilities, who are more vulnerable, should be treated and addressed.
Adeyanju, who stressed that our generation is unlucky to have witnessed more fake and counterfeit products, blamed it on corruption, lack of employment and inordinate ambitions, greed and mad drive to get rich quick.
He said: “Counterfeit and piracy are illicit businesses in which criminal networks thrive because of the economic benefits, even though items that counterfeiters and pirates produce and distribute are often substandard and dangerously pose health and safety risks that can range from mild to life threatening.”
“It is believed that by convening a public health awareness lecture, we are constructively engaging the governments to be pro-active on policies and proposed programmes to eradicate and reduce menace of fake products in our country.
“A lot of criminal networks and organised crime thrive today through counterfeiting and piracy activities.” “As they produce killer goods and products that endanger the lives of the citizens while causing permanent damage to citizens’ health, it has become imperative that government must consider strengthening legal processes to eliminate their activities,” he added.
Also the director medical services LASUTH, Mrs Latinwo Laide, who represented the Chief Medical Director, urged persons with disability to take the bull by the horn and drive the fight against fake drugs and counterfeits to their various localities. According to her, disability is not an excuse but strength because many Nigerians are suffering from one disability to the other.
Mrs Laide, who told a story of her son with sickle cell anaemia, who excelled in one of the blue-chip companies in Nigeria, said her son did not allow his disability to affect his performance as there is always an ability in disability.
According to her, persons with disabilities should develop the spirit of excellence and put in their very best in all endeavours, so as to prove their critics wrong.
She, however, urged government agencies saddled with the responsibility of combating fake, counterfeit and pirated products to live up to their responsibilities because of the danger of the menace.
She further urged members of NAHCAN to seek for proper collaboration with agencies of government and other corporate organisations in their future event and not to resort merely to writing letters because many individuals and organisations do not know much about them.
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