THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday impounded 880 bags x 25kg of Urea Formaldehyde Resin, a chemical compound for manufacturing explosives.
The dangerous chemical substance was purportedly wrapped as sodium sulphate while being smuggled into the country through the seaport. The substance, loaded in 2 x 20 ft containers, scaled through checkpoints on the way to a warehouse of a company located at Omu-Ijebu in Ogun State before being intercepted by the joint efforts of NAFDAC operatives, the Ports Inspection Directorates and the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate.
Speaking to journalists at NAFDAC headquarters in Oshodi, where the seized containers have been kept, the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, stated that the chemical posed a “grave” security threat to the nation if allowed in the hands of “unscrupulous individuals such as Boko Haram terrorists.”
She said that though Urea Formaldehyde resin is a chief chemical element for manufacturing fertilisers and adhesives, it is also one of the polyfunctional alcohols easily converted into explosive device by terrorists.
She also confirmed the arrest of two syndicates; Mr Zhao Shou Chum, the Managing Director of Six Manufacturing Global Service and a clearing agent, Mr. Christian Ohia of Actus Fidel Nigeria Ltd.
She said the significant security risk of the chemical had impelled the restriction on the importation of the substance to the country allowing only two companies registered by NAFDAC, stating that the arrested syndicates had not been given the right to import the chemical.
She said, “Urea formaldehyde resin is a controlled chemical. The chemical can be used for manufacturing fertilisers for agricultural produce. It is also used as adhesives in wood. However, it can be easily converted as explosive device by unscrupulous elements such as the Boko Haram terrorists. This was why the Federal Government placed a ban on it. However, the ban was lifted because of its agricultural use and only two companies working with NAFDAC and other relevant authority have been granted permit to import the chemical. Six Six Manufacturing Global Service has no such permit”.
Meanwhile, one of the arrested syndicates, Mr Zhao Shou Chum, who spoke to Nigerian Tribune, said that the chemical was imported into the country for adhesives and not for making explosive.
The agency’s acting Director General however reassured the public that the agency would continue the investigation in order to unravel the supply chain of the controlled chemical as well as the intended purpose of the smugglers.