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Published On: Sun, Jul 1st, 2018

Scare over human flesh capsules in Nigeria


There is growing fear over possible presence of “human flesh” capsules alleged to be produced by a Chinese based drug syndicate in Nigeria.

Human flesh capsules Photo AFP

The capsules said to be made from dead babies and foetuses are believed by consumers to enhance stamina and cure diseases. However, investigations by officials of health ministries of advanced nations, notably South Korea, showed that they contain harmful substances that are infected with super bacteria.

The main production centres of the capsules in China is said to include Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin.

Reports of the existence of such drugs had first emerged in 2012 when the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said it apprehended 29 smugglers, who disguising themselves as tourists and attempted to bring some 11,000 of the capsules into the South East Asian country in their luggage.

The KCS had disclosed that six people used international parcels to smuggle in the material, and some 6,000 capsules were confiscated. It said it first found out about the smuggling in August 2011.

“The capsules are made of powdered dried foetuses or dead babies. Believed to help in rejuvenation, they are used by terminal cancer patients or Chinese laborers working here,” the KCS had noted.

The customs service said smugglers are using more varied methods to avoid crackdowns.


“Some put herbs together in the capsules so that customs agents cannot distinguish the unique smell and color of the human-flesh capsules. Others put the capsules in medicine containers to deceive inspectors,” a KCS official said.

“It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health,” the official had said.

It has however, emerged that Nigeria, which remains a key import destination for Chinese products, is a possible destinations for such drugs.

When contacted however, spokesperson for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Christy Obiazokwor said she was on the road and could not immediately respond.

The Public Relations of Nigerian Customs Service, Mr. Joseph Attah on his part told our reporters that any import that is drug related is first examined at the ports by a team of NAFDAC scientists and the service, noting that NAFDAC was in a better position to make clarifications.

Nonetheless, the Chinese Health Ministry had denied the existence of such pills in the country.

Deng Haihua, a spokesman for China’s Health Ministry, who made the clarification while speaking to state run Xinhua news agency, said however that Chinese authorities will conduct an investigation into the reports.

Deng said China has strict regulations to ensure that such a thing could not occur. There had been several allegations in the past of fake or plastic rice, eggs and poisonous malt drinks imported into the country from China.

Human flesh capsules seized by customs officials in South Korea. Credit: David McNew

In 2016, the Nigerian Customs Service seized several bags of rice suspected to have been made from plastic substances genetically modified. NAFDAC would later dismiss the report of the existence of such rice as false.

Former Acting Director General of the agency, Mrs. Yetunde Oni had confirmed that after laboratory tests were conducted on the said rice, that there was no plastic rice in the country.

She had, however, said the seized rice was “contaminated with microorganisms above permissible limit.”

“Based on the above laboratory result, the product is not plastic but rice contaminated with micro-organisms above permissible limit, hence the seized rice consignment is unsatisfactory and therefore unwholesome for human consumption. The consignment upon handover by the Nigeria Customs Service shall be destroyed,” Oni had emphasised.

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