Protests as NAFDAC seals 1,321 medicine stores in Kano

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in collaboration with the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, on Monday, raided and sealed not less than 1,321 patent medicine stores in the Sabon Gari open market of Kano.

The operation took place 72 hours after the Federal High Court ordered the drug dealers to vacate their open market premises and relocate to the Coordinated Wholesale Centre at Dangwauro village on Zaria Road in the state.

The exercise provoked a protest by the patent medicine store owners, who marched to the Kano State Government House to express their displeasure.

While briefing newsmen on Monday, the NAFDAC Director of Investigation and Enforcement, Mr Francis Ononiwu, said the closure was part of its mandate to sanitise unwholesome pharmaceutical practice by the dealers.

Ononiwu said over the years, the patent medicine traders have constituted an imminent threat to public health following the distribution of unwholesome pharmaceutical products to unsuspected members of the public.

He said, “Following the court judgment that ordered the relocation of the patent medicine dealers to CWC, NAFDAC and PCN joint enforcement team embarked on the enforcement action between 17th and 18th of February during which not less than 1,321 outlets were sealed.

“The operations were executed in line with the enforcement and regulatory task of the agencies necessary to sanitise drug distribution in Nigeria and to checkmate the chaotic supply of pharmaceuticals, in the open market, a development inimical to public health.

“These people have caused a lot of damage to the health of society because, apart from dispensing fake and adulterated medicines, they lack the required cold store for pharmaceutical storage. With that alone, so many medicines on their shelf have lost the efficacy because of the high temperature of where they stock products.”

He enjoined the dealers to appreciate the positive reason behind their relocation to the coordinated centre, as part of efforts to fight drug abuse in the country.

Meanwhile, the Sabon gari patent medicine dealers on Monday marched to Kano State Government House to register their displeasure over the eviction and relocation order issued by the court.

Speaking at the government house, the chairman of the patent medicine dealers, Alhaji Musbahu Khalid, said the owners of the new centre at Dangwauro village were exploiting them and appealed to the state government to take over the CWC for proper management.

Receiving the aggrieved medicine dealers, the Chief of Staff to Governor Abba Yusuf, Alhaji Shehu Sagagi, appealed for calm and promised that the government would examine the development and look for ways to amicably address the situation.