The popular Bridge Head Drug Market in Onitsha, Anambra State, also known as Ogbogu Market, has cried out to Governor Charles Soludo, the Inspector General of Police and other relevant stakeholders to call the personnel of the Anambra State Police Command to order over their unwholesome activities towards traders in the market and their customers.
The chairman of the market, Mr. Chukwulota Ndubuisi, who made the call during a chat with newsmen recently in Onitsha, noted that police personnel in Anambra have forced over 70% of their customers out of the state, as their customers now patronize drug markets in Lagos and elsewhere.
He said, “Today, the present administration in this market has flushed out fake and expired drugs from circulating within the market. Whenever we recover fake or expired drugs, we confiscate them, hand them over to NAFDAC or NDLEA alongside their owners for necessary disciplinary actions.
“At regular intervals, officials of NAFDAC from the zonal headquarters in Agulu would come into the market, either on intelligence report or to inspect the market. Whenever they get any fake or expired drugs, they will confiscate and destroy them; then, hand the owner over to NDLEA.
“Whenever NAFDAC sees vehicles suspected to carry fake drugs, they will impound the vehicle, inspect the drugs, and release genuine ones. They will confiscate fake ones and destroy them, and when they arrest peddlers of such drugs, NAFDAC will hand them over to NDLEA for prosecution. This is how it is done.
“But unfortunately, police personnel in the state have continued to frustrate our traders and customers over this period. Drug inspection or evaluation or administration are never the duties of the police; but they will force themselves to do them for reasons best known to them.”
Mr Ndubuisi also accused the police of impounding goods belonging to traders in the market, as well as their customers, and make money out of them.
“But for the police, what they do is that whenever they see vehicles carrying our customers’ drugs, they will confiscate the vehicle, and keep them at their station. They will not even inspect or examine the drugs to separate genuine ones, because, it is not their duty.
“Police will always front themselves to do the work of NAFDAC and NDLEA in drug administration and control. Recently, UNTH ordered a truck load of drugs from our market, and on its way, the vehicle carrying these drugs was impounded by police personnel at the Zone 13 headquarters in Ukpo, for reasons best known to them.
“For weeks, the vehicle and drugs were there. Our customers in Enugu could not get their drugs, and our traders could not get their money. That has been the experience and frustration of traders and customers.
“Today, police personnel in Anambra have succeeded in frustrating and chasing away over 70% of our customers across Nigeria. Our major customers in PortHaccourt and Warri have already diverted to Lagos. The same is applicable to our customers in other states.”
The market leader maintained that if drastic measures were not taken in curbing police excesses in dealing with traders and their customers in the Onitsha drug market, time shall come when the market would be a ghost of itself.