May 8, 2019

Over 6,000 pharmacists threaten to shut down Abuja over ‘missing’ PCN Bill

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – No fewer than 6,000 pharmacists have threatened to shut down the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) next week in a peace demonstration over the unknown whereabouts of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill (2017).

The threat was made on Tuesday evening on the heels of their successful withdrawal of services across the country to press home the demand for express action with regards to the finding the whereabouts of the Bill and its subsequent assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The pharmacists, operating under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), claimed that the location where the Bill, passed by the National Assembly over 15 months ago, was last seen and heard of was at the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari.

Speaking to reporters after monitoring level of compliance with the directive to members to withdraw services on Tuesday, National Chairman of ACPN, Pharm. Samuel Adekola, said: “In another one week, if nothing has been done with regards to the missing Bill, we will mobilise over 6,000 pharmacists to Abuja for a peaceful demonstration and expression of our concern over the negative effects of not having this Bill become Law.

“We know the last place the Bill was seen and heard of when it was returned from the office of the Health Minister after technical corrections were effected on the original copy was the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

“From there the document was supposed to go back to the Clerk of the National Assembly not the floor of legislature for update before Mr. president finally assents to it. But it was held down by bureaucracy.”

He continued: “This Bill is known to be the only legal instrument with the capability to curb the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria, the spread of fake drugs in Nigeria, and the issue of chaotic drug distribution system has also been taken care of.

“These are some of the reasons and many more why we are call the attention of President Buhari to work amicably with the National Assembly to make this Bill become law.

“If this is not done between now and May 29, the implication is that the work that has been done on this document for more than two years will go down the drain. This will not be in the interest of the government, the pharmacy profession and the Nigerian people which we are serving and making efforts to protect in terms public health.”