My Pikin trial: Nigerians jailed for 7 years in poisoned baby medicine deaths


A newborn baby in Lagos, Nigeria.


Pius Utomi Ekpei

Two Nigerians responsible for the production of baby teething medication My Pikin were sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday after at least 80 children died when the drug was poisoned.

Production manager Abiodun Adeyemo and quality assurance manager Ebele Austine Eromosele were sentenced to seven years in prison each. The judge on the case also ordered the pharmaceutical company they worked for, Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., along with all its assets, be handed over to the federal government.

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When children started dying in 2008, an investigation found that My Pikin, which means "my baby" in Nigerian pidgin, contained engine coolant, causing babies' kidneys to fail.

The medication, a paracetamol-based syrup used for treating sore gums in teething babies, had been contaminated with engine coolant diethylene glycol.

Adeyemo and Eromosele were arraigned alongside company owner Gbadegesin Okunlola on a six-count criminal charge of conspiracy to produce an adulterated drug. Okunlola was later removed and the charge amended when it was reported he had died.

All three had pleaded not guilty.