Onitsha Drug dealers cry out over alleged plans by fake drug barons to take over the market

Posted by News Express | 16 March 2020 | 1,220 times

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•Governor Obiano

Some traders in the Onitsha drug market Bridge Head, in Onitsha have raised the alarm over an alleged plan by some fake drug barons to manipulate the upcoming election in the market so as to foist one of them as the leader to enable them return to business and take over the market.

Addressing journalists in Onitsha over the weekend, the group, under the aegis of Concerned Bridgehead Drugs Market Traders Association, urged the state Governor, Willie Obiano, to prevail on the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Dr Christian Madubuko, to conduct a free, fair and credible election to avoid the foisting of a known fake drug baron as the leader in the market.

The group’s leader, Ignatius Akuma, a popular drug dealer in the market said: “If you know the history of our market, you will know that the market was closed down many years ago by Prof Dora Akunyili when she was the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), because the market became notorious for fake drugs.

“What people do not know is that there is a cartel in the market that deals in fake drugs, and that cartel is now using the opportunity of the caretaker committee in the market to stage a return.

“The caretaker committee are only interested in making money for themselves and they are not responsible to anyone. So, because of that, they accept millions from these fake drug dealers who have used the opportunity to return to the market.

“Since 2018 when this caretaker committee was inaugurated, it has been paying heavily to government officials to renew their tenure every three months.

“They get the money they pay from these drug barons, and now that the government is ready to conduct an election, they are now trying to smuggle one of their own into the leadership of the market.”

The group observed that if the fake drug barons return and the market gets closed down because of them, those of them that sell genuine drugs will also suffer the closure.

It also warned Governor Obiano and NAFDAC that the state of the market in 2007, which caused NAFDAC to seal it, would be child’s play because the fake drug barons are now more vicious, and this would cause deaths.

Akuma explained that they are not interested in any position, but only out to protect their business and source of livelihood, so as not to be seen as fake drug dealers when impunity begins to reign again in the market.

While stressing that the solution to the issue would be for Obiano to warn his aides to shun bribe from contestants in the market election, but rather conduct a credible election for the traders in the market to choose their leaders.

The group added: “We, traders in the market, know the fake drug dealers, and if the election is free and fair, and also held during the day and not at midnight as we learnt they are trying to do, we know our traders will vote against the candidate being projected by the barons.”

News Express learnt that the election which is coming two years after the tenure of the past administration has been fixed for April 16, 2020.




Source: By PAMELA EBOH, Awka

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