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19 Oct 2018

Nigerian pharmaceuticals executive who went on the run in May for illegal sale of codeine has been arrested by Lagos Police

Chukwunonye Madubuike, a former Nigerian pharmaceuticals executive who was implicated in a BBC investigation into the illegal sale of addictive opioids/codeine has been arrested. 

He was arrested and detained close to the border with Benin. He went on the run in May after he was filmed illegally selling codeine syrup to an undercover BBC reporter. Police said he told them he thought he was selling to a genuine businessman and regretted not checking his ID.

Madubuike was a business development executive with Emzor pharmaceuticals, who sacked him after the film was aired.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police Imohimi Edgal said the arrest was made in the border town of Idiroko in Ogun State. He had been heading to Cotonou in Benin. 

He said Emzor had reported Mr Madubuike in May on suspicion of having "knowingly supplied the controlled drugs to persons who were not supposed to have access to them contrary to" Nigerian law. 

Edgal went on to say Madubuike, in his statement, said he was "was only trying to meet his sales target", acknowledged he should have carried out greater checks to verify the identity of the person he was dealing with and "regretted selling controlled substances to unauthorised persons". 

Since the documentary was aired, more than 2.4 million codeine syrup bottles have been recalled and a number of pharmacists and small-time dealers have been arrested.

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