The NAFDAC Coordinator in Niger, Mr Dadi Mantum, said this at news conference in Minna.
He said that the 54 sachet water factories were closed in Suleja and Minna for allegedly contravening the agency’s regulations.
Mantum said that the agency took the action following tip-offs that the factories were operating illegally, adding that the factories were closed as part of efforts to protect public health.
He stressed that NAFDAC would strive to be more proactive, warning that it would sanction any individual or organisation found wanting in compliance with extant regulations on water packaging.
“It is the simple laws that we are going to enforce; these include laws on hygiene, cleanliness, proper storage of water, proper mode of transportation and employment of correct personnel.
“We have decided that these simple laws would be enforced.
“Acquisition of equipment is not enough; in fact, these producers buy equipment which is quite expensive.
“We, however, need to enforce the laws on hygiene so as to guarantee that the sachet water being produced is fit for human consumption,’’ he said.
The NAFDAC coordinator identified lack of personnel as one of the limitations which constrained the agency from getting to the grassroots regularly.
Mantum said that with the assistance of the state government, task forces were being set up to carry out the enforcement of health standards in the rural areas.
“So, we are constrained in reaching down to the people in the rural areas as regularly as we do with the people in urban areas.
“That’s why there is still much disparity between monitoring in the urban and rural areas,’’ he said.