On Friday, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) announced that it arrested a syndicate using fake documents to import Crusader Medicated Soap, a popular medicated soap it had banned.
Mojisola Adeyeye, Director of General of NAFDAC, stated that the agency had banned the soap in Nigeria after it showed high levels of mercury which could damage the skin, nervous system and kidney.
The announcement of the confiscation by NAFDAC was met with mixed reactions from Nigerians as most people testified to have used the medicated soap in question for decades.
Dr Olufunmilayo, a Nigerian doctor practising in the United Kingdom, corroborated NAFDAC’s claim of the dangers posed.
He stated that the element found in the soap could damage vital body organs like the brain, spinal cord, liver as well as the lungs. It could also be the causative factor of blindness and deafness.
“Mercury poisoning can cause damage to the brain, the spinal cord, the skin, the liver, the lungs, the kidneys and if severe enough can cause death,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).
NAFDAC has discovered a syndicate specialized in using forged documents to import banned crusader soap containing mercury.— NAFDAC NIGERIA (@NafdacAgency) September 15, 2023
The DG NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclose this at a media briefing in Lagos on Friday, 15th September, 2023. pic.twitter.com/Hbuxn6gYLj
However, this revelation didn’t sit well it many Nigerians who went on to share their dedication to the same medicated soap since infancy.
One user, Outright Joe, said that he used the soap for 25 years before he quit in 2014 after his elder brother started to develop rashes as a result of using the soap:
“This was actually our family soap before I stopped in 2019. I have been using it since 1994. You are right about that rashes, because, my elder brother started having rashes on his skin.”
Another user wrote how he found out about the toxic element in the popular medicated soap as a high school student and its ability to cause blindness in newborns:
“I discovered how bad this soap is during my high school days when a chemistry teacher asked us to see the effect of mercury in soap, almost everything was bad. I even read then that it can lead to blindness of a baby if their mom uses such soap during pregnancy.”
Olakunle Apara blamed NAFDAC for their negligence. He questioned how the agency allowed the product to remain in circulation for decades before placing a ban on it:
“Sometimes I wonder what our agencies are there for if they can’t do their jobs effectively. This soap has been around for ages and NAFDAC is just realizing it contains a dangerous substance that can destroy lives. It is well.”
Adaeze wrote, “My old aunt have been using this soap since I saw her. She just got operated in the leg and waist, last year in UK. I remember every time I come visiting, I always give her a waist and knee massage. We thought it was old age.”
Excel Nomayo stated that, “While this may be true, the Crusader medicated soap I know of is a British product, they pay attention to quality control, else, why is NAFDAC just coming up with this discovery? If this report is true, then it’s most likely a fake product made by infiltrators in Nigeria.”
Umachi Goodness said her mother who used the soap as a young girl had to discontinue its use after it nearly damaged her skin:
“My mum told me she used this soap as a young girl. She stopped when it nearly damaged her face. Imagine realising other effect of using this soap after how many years.”
Miriam said, “So, is NAFDAC saying the producers were selling for decades without certification and clearance? Because why now? What does NAFDAC do when producers come to them? Is it just to fill form and collect money? Little wonder we have lots of poisons in our markets all carrying ‘NAFDAC NO'”.
Nightingale said that the mercury contained in Crusader medicated soap bleached her skin so badly within two weeks that she had to sun dry herself:
“It takes less than two weeks for this soap to make you white. I became so white that I didn’t realise. I had to intentional sun dry myself daily in my own wisdom in other to become dark again. Since then, never again.”
Many more reactions have followed NAFDAC’s press statement on Friday. The general impression showed most people did not realise the soap was already banned a while ago.
FIJ searched for NAFDAC press releases on its social media accounts and found nothing.
A further search on Google brought up results highlighting numerous raids on Crusader medicated soap smugglers. One search result dates NAFDAC’s ban on Crusader medicated soap as far back as 2003.
Joseph Asikpo, NAFDAC’s Taraba State coordinator, marked Crusader as a contraband in 2016.
“These products are causative agents for skin cancer and kidney problem,” Asikpo had told reporters in a press statement.
“We are continuously carrying out mop up of commonly used but banned products such as Crusader, Mekako, Montclaire and Amirah soaps and other mercury containing products.”
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