By Henry Ojelu
lagos—A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday ordered the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, AMONI Zone, Lagos to grant clearance to one of its members, Pharmacist Eton Alexander Ani to enable him renew his 2018/2019 license.
Justice Yetunde Pinheiro gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Ani against the coordinator of the association, Pharmacist Aribeana Okechuwu over refusal to grant him clearance to obtain his personal clearance as a practising pharmacist.
In the suit, Ani averred that Okechukwu being the zonal coordinator of his association refused to grants him clearance even when he had fulfilled all the necessary requirement to obtain such clearance.
He contended that the action of the defendant was illegal and prayed the court to compel the association to immediately issue him clearance to renew his license.
The defendant however countered the plaintiff’s averrement insisting that he did not meet all necessary requirements including financial obligations to obtain such clearance from the association.
The defendant also premised his action on the pendent of a suit filed by the employer of Ani, Enichart Pharmacy against the Pharmacists Counsel of Nigeria and others.
But in her judgment, Justice Pinheiro held that the defendant failed to adduce cogent reasons for his action saying that the denial of clearance by the defendant was illegal and an abuse of the rights of Ani as a member of ACPN.
The judge held that from the totality of the evidence adduced in court, the motive of the defendant in refusing to grant the claimant clearance to renew his license was tainted with malice.
She said: “From the totality of the evidence before me in this suit, I find no cogent reason to sustain the defendant’s decision not to grant the claimant clearance for his personal clearance as required by the rule of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria.
“ I hereby hold that the decision of the defendant to deny the claimant his right to be issued clearance for the renewal of his license is illegal.
“Pendency of the suit instituted by the plaintiff’s employer before the Federal High Court is not sufficient reason for denying the claimant clearance for his license.
“ I hereby order the defendant to immediately issue the cliamant zonal clearance to enable him obtain his personal clearance.
“ The defendant is ordered to pay the claimant the sum of N200,000 for general damages and N100,000 for cost of the action. “
Counsel to the claimant, Ethel Onuoha praised the decision of court saying that it was a well considered judgment and a big relieve for his client who had suffered untold loses as a result of the unfair action of the defendant.