According to a report published by All Africa, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been confirmed by a Nigerian Federal High Court siting in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, as the agency with the power to regulate all chemicals in Nigeria.
Following a case filed by the United Chemical Company of Nigeria over the import and export of cement, Justice E. A. Obile, held that the import, export and use of all chemicals fall under NAFDAC’s purview, and its powers are not limited to pharmaceutical chemicals.
Section 5(a) of the NAFDAC Act grants the agency powers to regulate ‘food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals’, and there is therefore ‘no ambiguity’, the judge stated.
Justice Obile further stated that any attempt to state which chemicals the statute covers would amount to an amendment to the law of which the court has no power to amend.
Background of the Case
The Plaintiff, United Chemical Company of Nigeria, contended in a suit filed on September 22, 2011 that NAFDAC did not have the powers to regulate the import or export of Portland cement “clinker” for not qualifying as a chemical as specified in the NAFDAC Act.
According to the Plaintiff, “chemicals” as defined in Section 5(a) of NAFDAC Act refers to pharmaceutical chemicals only. The Plaintiff further claimed that any attempt by NAFDAC to regulate non-pharmaceutical chemicals amounted to usurping the functions of other regulatory agencies.
NAFDAC on the other hand contended that its powers to regulate and control the use of “chemicals” as defined by NAFDAC Act was not in any way limited. The Federal High Court ruled in favor of NAFDAC’s argument stating that no limitation was imposed by the Act.
The judge, while dismissing the Plaintiff’s claims, ruled that cement clinker was a chemical and that NAFDAC did not go beyond its powers. According to the judge, any attempt to state which chemical NAFDAC is to control or regulate would amount to amending the statute, which he said the court lack the power to do.