By Ebere Suzy Okoye
A cold war is raging between the leadership of the popular Onitsha Bridge Head Drug Market and officials of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) over an allegation of incitement of NAFDAC against the traders of the drug market by some pharmacists in the Federal Ministry of Health.
The incitement it was gathered has led to series of threat by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to relocate traders of the market to a Mega Drug centre also located along Onitsha /Asaba Express way.
According to an inside source traders of the drug market had been enjoying a cordial relationship with NAFDAC since the reopening of the market after it was closed by Prof. Dora Akunyili’s administration a few year ago.
The source told this reporter that since the drug dealers have been in the process of meeting the conditions set by NAFDAC some of them which include fencing of the market with only two entry and exit points, well equipped office for NAFDAC and police officials, grouping of the market into four zones with supervising pharmacist for each zone, interrupted power and water supply, provision of fire fighting facilities among others
However, the market executives have been working round the clock to meet the requirements until the recent threat by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu to relocate the market to another place were the traders described as “unconducive and too small for over seven thousand traders of the market”.
Speaking to the press on the threat by the Minister to relocate the market to a private site owned by an Onitsha based business man, the chairman of Onitsha Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers Union, otherwise known as Bridge – Head Drug Market, Hon. Ugochukwu Nwosu warned Pharmacists to stop inciting the Minister of Health, Prof. Chukwu and NAFDAC against traders of the market.
He disclosed that the traders have always complied with NAFDAC seminars and workshops in which charges ranging between N1,000 and N2,500 were charged per trader of over seven thousand population, adding that what pharmacists were asking for were the pound of flesh of the traders.
Hon. Nwosu disclosed that the pharmacists had proposed through their cronies in NAFDAC to take over the sales of drugs from the importers after which returns would be remitted to real owners and described the proposal as “ monkey de work, baboon de chop and urged the Federal Government and all good-spirited individuals to look into their plight as the attitude of the minister has turned into witch –hunting.