The National Drug Distribution Guidelines is set to take off in Nigeria under which drug sellers in every community would operate from a central location.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, disclosed this on Monday in Lagos during a visit to the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, to solicit his support for the Coordinated Warehouse Centre in Lagos state.
With the creation of the centres, government plans to move all drug traders from open drug markets to one location, as part of the fight against counterfeit drugs.
Mr. Adewole had earlier visited the Deputy Governor of the state, Oluranti Adebule, and the Ojora of Ijora, who is the traditional ruler of the host community of the warehouse centre.
Mr. Adewole said the government was implementing the initiative in order to safeguard the lives of Nigerians by ensuring the quality of drugs available to them.
He said the plan has been finalised to relocate wholesalers of drugs and medicines from all over Lagos to the central location where their activities can be coordinated, regulated and closely monitored.
“We will not want a situation where anybody can bring drugs and keep them in the house, in the store or in the farm and distribute. We thought that we should bring these drugs to a central location where everybody will know what is happening there.”
He said at the centre, officials “can monitor quality and government can also tax them.”
He disclosed that the policy was also taking off in Aba, Onitsha and Kano and hinted at the possibility of adding more cities in the future.
Mr. Adewole said the Coordinated Warehouse Centre policy was inherited from his predecessor and he is committed to implementing it.
“If we do not extend the deadline, by tomorrow anybody not selling drugs at that central location should be arrested,” Mr. Adewole remarked.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has a “human face” and would refrain from inflicting pains on Nigerians in its bid to get things right.
“Hence, we will work with the Lagos State Government to resolve all issues delaying the take-off of the project and ensure we have a workable date,” the minister said.
The Oba of Lagos in reaction to Mr. Adewole said traditional leaders in Lagos were willing to support the government in achieving anything that will benefit Nigerians.
He, however, admonished the National Assembly members on the way they have been carrying out their duties.
In a video made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Akiolu warned the House of Representatives not to meddle in things outside their jurisdiction, saying they have no right to dictate who should be sacked or reinstated.
“Let me make it loud that majority of right thinking Nigerians are annoyed with them on the recent decision to sit on certain matters. There is still room for improvement and I appeal to them to do what Nigerians want because the way we are going, I will not pray for a situation where Nigerians will rise and go attack them in the Senate as it is getting to that stage as Nigerians are hungry and angry,” the traditional ruler added.