Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Members of the Kano State chapter of the Nigeria Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers have embarked on a two-day strike in protest against the unlawful invasion of their premises by the officials of the Kano State Road Transport Agency, (KAROTA).
Checks by our correspondent indicated that the strike has so far enjoyed total compliance by the protesting dealers as shops and stores belonging to their members were shut at the Sabon Gari market and in different locations in the state capital.
Sources close to our correspondent disclosed that the medicine dealers have been suffering from the disruptive activities of several state agencies such as KAROTA and Hisbah, who have departed from their areas of primary assignments to the arrest of patent medicine dealers, despite the fact that they have no direct mandate over drugs and pharmaceutical goods and are barely educated to pass informed judgement on drug-related matters.
The sources said that the present protest was informed by last week’s unlawful invasion of their members’ pharmaceutical warehouse located along Airport Road where the agency announced that it had confiscated fake and adulterate drugs worth N30 million
It was gathered that the said officers of the KSRTA, swooped on the warehouse, carted away some drugs and took them the office of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), where they were advised to take them back as the confiscated drugs were legal and the premises where they were kept was registered.
“When they could not return the drugs which were rejected by the office of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, they came back, broke into premises, dumped the drugs in the office and left,” said the source.
Check by our correspondent indicated that the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria has cleared the said drugs and would return them to the owner anytime from now
Speaking to our correspondent, an immediate past vice-chairman of the body, Mr Valentine Ike, said that it had been very challenging for them following the activities of different state agencies as everybody had left their assignments for arresting suspected defaulters in the pharmaceutical sector.
He regretted that Hisbah, SARS, KAROTA had reconstituted themselves as the new police of the pharmaceutical and medicine sector even when by law it is the responsibility of the Federal Government agencies like NAFDAC and PHC to regulate their activities in the drug market.