By Peter Okolie
Onitsha (Anambra) – Mr Uchenna Eze, the Chairman, Central Pharmaceutical and Allied Wholesale Market, Onitsha Bridgehead, says the construction of the Coordinated Wholesale Drug Centre at Oba, near Onitsha, Anambra will commence in January 2020.
Eze said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha on Thursday, pointing out that the project was delayed due to paper works.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government had set Jan. 2019 deadline to end open drug markets in the country for the introduction of the coordinated wholesale centres nationwide for distribution of drugs.
The federal government said then that the plan was to checkmate the distribution of fake medical products in the country, mostly in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano.
However, Eze said paper works, including registration with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, building plan approval, topography test and Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed site delayed the project.
“We did not fold our arms since the government gave the directive,” he said, adding that a reasonable part of the project included paper works, which caused the delay.
“But we are done with all that now and have cleared the site as well as collected tenders from developers,” he further said.
The chairman said the body had met the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, and Gov. Willie Obiano, who promised to support the project.
Describing the Onitsha drug market as a “chaotic drug distribution outlet,” Eze alleged that many distributors were not operating with licenses.
He said the relocation to the coordinated centre would help to solve the incessant challenges of harassment and arrest of traders in the market by security operatives.
“One of the fundamental reasons why government decided to concentrate the open drug markets in one centre is to also control the sale of unwholesome drugs.
“But we are not resting on our part to reduce the scourge. We conduct surveillance from time to time and report suspects to NAFDAC,” Eze said. (NAN)