by Panshak Ibrahim
On Friday, 14 November, the Federal High Court, sitting in Makurdi gave a ruling lifting NAFDAC’s ban on the use of Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka’s patented vaccines for the treatment of HIV.
Justice Binta Nyako, who presided over the case, also cautioned the Federal Government and NAFDAC from further interfering with the use of the vaccines.
Abalaka had filed a suit against NAFDAC, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation, for banning him from using the vaccines he discovered in 1999 for the treatment and prevention of HIV.
During his testimony before the court, Abalaka said he discovered a recipe to turn the virus in the infected blood of HIV infected person into both preventive and curative vaccines, and he applied for the patent of the discovery, which was granted on July 22, 1999.
He stated, “I wrote to health institutions and authorities in Nigeria to draw their attention to the discovery to collaborate with me to test and confirm the breakthrough. This was in order to bring succor to sufferers of HIV but the letters were ignored.”
According to Abalaka, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) looked into his discovery and confirmed the potency of the drugs.
“This was done through a report on Feb 28, 2000, but the Federal Government discontinued further collaboration with me and the institute.”
He would also reveal that various agencies of federal government, including its hospitals, had purchased the vaccines from him and applied them on their own patients who had HIV and many were cured.
“When the FG discovered that the vaccines were potent, it sent agents to me with the sum of N10million for the breakthrough to be announced in Atlanta Georgia, USA, but I refused.”
Abalaka alleged that his refusal lead to the ban on his vaccines from being used for the treatment of HIV epidemic in Nigeria by NAFDAC.
His counsel, Paul Omale, urged the court to determine whether the defendants had justified their banning the vaccines and “sentence about 3.5 million Nigerians to death” while there was effective and safe vaccines to cure them.
Furthermore, Omale implored the court to determine whether the defendants had shown any harmful side effect of the vaccines.
Counsel to the defendants, Uche Ezekwesili, however, abandoned their plea as he could not call witnesses to justify the ban.
In her judgement, Justice Nyako said since there was no cure yet for HIV, it was only fair for the defendants to have allowed the plaintiff to use the vaccines on infected persons with their consent.