Former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has tasked newly inducted fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy to join hands with the federal government to eradicate the spread of fake and substandard drugs in the country.
Speaking at the induction of 22 new fellows of the Academy last night in Lagos, Gowon who was the special guest of honour at the induction and awards night commended the new fellows for having run a good race.
“I welcome you to the elite group of the tried and trusted. What this means is that a lot is expected of you because to whom much is given much is expected,” the former military leader said.
“One area we expect from you is to stem the adulteration of drugs. Although NAFDAC has done much over the years to curb it, unfortunately, a number of people are still in this business, importing substandard drugs just to make profit out of it. This menace has to be arrested, not only in Nigeria but worldwide.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 50 per cent of global population receives fake drugs and 70 per cent of people use it. Please join hands with the security agencies to fight this menace. You will need to help our government make our drugs safe.”
Gowon also lauded the choice of Prof Jega for the award of NAPharm Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Prof Jega stood out. I was impressed with his conduct of the last general elections and he made us proud as Nigerians with peaceful and successful management of the elections. That election, to me, was one of the most serious, and needed every Nigerian to make effort to keep our country together.”
He further said while the election results were coming in, the conduct of former President Goodluck Jonathan to accept defeat and congratulate his fellow contestant, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, doused tension.
“He also cooled frayed nerves by saying he was not going to challenge the results at the elections tribunal. It shows that Nigeria can be strong as a united country,” Gowon added.
He also commended the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy for its commitment to the promotion of professionalism.
Meanwhile, after his profile was read, Prof Jega went emotional and thanked the Academy for selecting and giving him a lifetime achievement award him out of the numerous other worthy Nigerians.
“It is, therefore, a great honour for to receive this award. We had the privilege to serve our country and we did our best. We are grateful to the Almighty God for the privilege to serve,” he said.
“I want to dedicate this award to my colleagues at INEC who worked tirelessly for the success we achieved. We inherited an organisation that was notorious. We changed the perception of INEC.
“But most of all, I dedicate this ward to the Nigerian voters who made sure that their votes counted despite the challenges we all faced. The voters, civil society organisations and development partners and the voters for their role in ensuring the success we achieved. We must keep building on that success. All stakeholders must join hands in building democracy and avoid a reversal of the progress made.”
Like Gowon, the former INEC boss challenged the pharmacists’ body to fight against the purchase of non-prescription drugs over the counter. He said, “In serious countries, drugs like Codein cannot be sold over the counter. We have the serious phenomenon of our youths being hooked on these drugs. I believe it is not out of the purview of those here today to begin to do something about this issue.”
On his lifetime achievement award, Jega said it would motivate him to do for the country in future.
President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, remarked that many pharmacists would soon join the academy.
“Every effort has been made by the organisers to ensure that fellows of the Academy are drawn from the widest possible spread professionally, occupationally and geographically.
“The product may not be perfect, but it is a qualitative beginning by any standard. We must all know that the government cannot provide all the things Nigerians need; pharmacist must rally and support the government in nation building,” Adelusi-Adeluyi said.
Credit : Leadership