By Hassan Zaggi
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 Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
The traders have become recalcitrant to federal government laws and have refused to move out from the chaotic drug shops to a more regulated places.
Following the ‘unfortunate situation’, the PCN has initiate a partnership with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in order to arrest the situation and put the drug market under control.
Responding to questions from journalists after a courtesy visit to the Commandant General (CG) of the NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, in Abuja, the Registrar of the PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, said that the visit was to seek the support of the NSCDC to ensure that the chaotic drug market is cleared.
The Registrar insisted that the illegal drug sellers must leave 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.”
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.”