The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has dragged the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) before the FCT High Court in Lugbe, Abuja, over the alleged harassment of its practising members in the FCT.
The National Vice Chairman of ACPN, Mrs. Bridget Otote, speaking to journalists in Abuja, Thursday, said the matter that was brought before the court was a long-standing battle between the association and the area council, which had defied all alternative means of resolution, adding that the law enforcement staff of the area council had continued to harass their members who are practising within the AMAC jurisdiction, causing them untold psychological and emotional disturbances and causing them to record huge losses in their business.
“We have tried many other alternatives to peace other than coming to court, but since it was not yielding the desired results, we decided to take the bull by the horn and come to court where we feel should be a safe haven for every ordinary citizen.
“As you know we are pharmacists and we are dealing with clients whom most of the time are sick. We are also dealing with products, some of them very sensitive. So, when these people come around and harass us, it affects us emotionally, and of course when we are not emotionally stable, we are not able to deal with our clients appropriately.
“They come and interrupt our business. When they lock up our shops, we deal with thermolabile products which are heat-sensitive, so they expose our products to being destroyed by heat,” Otote said.
She further disclosed that the level of harassment being meted at them by AMAC staff had often sent out the wrong impressions about their business to the extent that the general public and prospective clients are sometimes skeptical about patronizing them.
“When they come and harass us, because we are dealing with sensitive products like drugs, some of the clients who are watching do not know why these people are coming. They probably would think that we are selling substandard products. They come with policemen and harass us, making us look like common criminals, and so it got to us, and we decided to come and seek redress in court,” Otote said further.
And lending his voice to the call for the cessation of harassment of community pharmacists in the area council, chairman of the FCT branch of ACPN, Mr. Enejo Amade, hinted that his organisation is not even statutorily under the jurisdiction of AMAC, since it was originally and legally established by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and that they pay their dues yearly, making them free from all forms of harassment and intimidation.
“The Community pharmacists body was established by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, so we are not under AMAC statutorily. But they come every time to challenge and harass us, and demand that we pay one fine or the other. Meanwhile, we pay our fines duly every year to the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria because they are the organ of government that established us,” stated Amade.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Justice C.O. Agashieze adjourned the matter to June 1, 2023, following a mutual agreement by counsel to ACPN, Tochukwu Nwanzota, and counsel to AMAC, Auta Nyada, to maintain status quo ante, pending the determination of the substantive suit.