By Hassan Zaggi
Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) has insisted that it will do everything within its powers to ensure that the illegal operation of drug sellers at the Onitsha bridge drug market vacate the premises.
The Registrar of the Council, Elijah Mohammed, stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Commandant General (CG) of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, in Abuja.
The Registrar lamented that the flagrant disobedience to government directive for traders at the Onitsha bridge drug market to vacate the area has become source of concern to the PCN.
The traders, according to him, have become recalcitrant to federal government laws and have refused to move out from the chaotic drug shops to a more regulated places.
Speaking to journalists after the courtesy visit the Registrar of the PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, vowed that the illegal drug sellers must vacate the illegal market.
“Onitsha bridge drug market is an unfortunate scenario. These are groups of individuals who are recalcitrant and they don’t want to obey simple laws and the federal government has given them so much time to organize themselves and move out from the chaotic drug shops they are where temperatures and activities there are not regulated.
“They just don’t want to conform to the laws of the land and you know the consequence of that is that they will find themselves doing what is not right.
“They will find themselves doing what is notorious and because of that they have decided not to leave that vicinity which is very unfortunate.
“Over the past six years, the federal government has put in place the Coordinated Wholesale Centre, a purpose built centre where they are supposed to move to. Kano open drugs market players have keyed into it and they are at advance stage. Lagos drug market have also keyed in and they are also at advanced stage.
“But that of Onisha, they have deliberately said that they are not going and that shows that whatever activity they are doing there is illegal, obnoxious and injurious to the lives of Nigerians.
“That is why I have come to solicit the cooperation of the leadership of the NSCDC to ensure that those individuals must comply to the laws of the land.
“It is no longer business as usual. The issues of fake drugs have been with us for a long time, the issue of uncoordinated supply of drugs to illegal premises, individuals, criminalities and all the rest are consequences of all these things and most of these things have been traced to the Onitsha overhead bridge market and the individuals there know what they are doing and they don’t want to move. This time around, they just have to move.”
Pharm. Mohammed said that the NSCDC has been very helpful to the PCN over the years, stressing that, “they have prosecuted many people already and most especially in Delta State. They have helped us to prosecute most of the cases there and other places in the country.
“We have come to congratulate the new CG for well deserved appointment. He his fit and the proper person to be there. He has agreed to continue the good job his predecessor did and from there we will be able to make Nigeria great again. “
Speaking, the CG of the NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, said that his organization was aware of the resistance and antagonism the PCN usually face when they go for inspection.
“Your activities have been able to curtail to some extent, the incidences of illegal drugs and operation of illegal pharmaceutical stores, especially in the area of patent medicine dealers.
“I like to state that during my watch as the Commandant, you will get 100 per cent cooperation from us so that all of us will succeed. This country is for all of us.
“We will give you the required and desired support so that you will do you work diligently and deliver Nigeria from the scourge of illegal drugs.”