Court awards N36.5m damages against pharmacist Council of Nigeria

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OrijoReporter.com, pharmacist Council of Nigeria

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has awarded N36.5million as damages in favour of Edichart Investments Limited, Mr. Samuel Edih and Mr. Alezander Ani Eton, against Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit Processed Food and others over the unlawful sealing and looting of the plaintiffs’ pharmacy on 45, Olarunlogbon Street, Antony Village, Lagos.

Read also: WIFE ACCUSED OF KILLING PHARMACIST HUSBAND

Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in the three and half hours judgment, also held that the defendants’ reason for failing to register the plaintiffs’ pharmacy was not tenable.

The judge, had before delving into the judgment, resolved that the judgment was within the 90 days required of a judge to give judgment from the day the case was concluded.

At the judgment, the defendants were not represented by counsel, but the plaintiffs’ counsel informed the court that the defence counsel were fully aware of the new date for the judgment.

In the judgment, Justice Abang agreed with the plaintiffs that the defendants acted outside their powers by sealing, raiding and carting away the plaintiffs’ drugs and also failing to grant their pharmacy licence, as they (defendants) failed to establish the proximity of another pharmacy to 45, Olarunlogbon Street, Antony Village, Lagos, which is where the plaintiffs’ pharmacy is situated.

The court awarded N35.53million in favour the plaintiffs against the defendants as special damages and N1m as general damages.

The plaintiffs had dragged Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit Processed Food, Mrs. G.O. Balogun, Mrs. Adeoye and Attorney General of Lagos State, to court on November 23, 2010, over the defendants’ raid on Edichart Investments Limited pharmacy, carting away its drugs and closing the place.

On Edichart Investments’ application for licence, the plaintiffs argued that the refusal by Pharmacist Council of Nigeria to grant same, was its claim that its (Edichart) building on 45, Olarunlogbon Street, Antony Village, Lagos, was close to other pharmacy.

According to the plaintiffs, the defendants on May 20, 2010 raided its pharmacy and carted away drugs, while they (defendants) closed the massive drug shop from May 20, 2010 to August 10, 2010 and from December 9, 2010 to August 4, 2011, a period of about 317 days.

The plaintiffs had further stated that while hearing in the suit commenced on November 23, 2010, Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, by a letter dated November 3, but served on the plaintiffs on November 30, 2010, which was backdated, claimed the reason for not granting the 1st plaintiff’s (Edichart) premises licence was that it was close to other premises (pharmacy).

According to the plaintiffs, “Curiously, this issue of proximity was not mentioned in the contravention notice dated May 27, 2010 issued and served same day on Edichart at Pharmacist Council of Nigeria’s office.

“The name of the premises, the nature of the pharmaceutical practice and when the said premises was registered were never disclosed.”

The plaintiffs added that “In the course of cross-examining DW1 (defence witness) on November 5, 2015 by the plaintiffs’ counsel, DW1 was asked whether he was a Surveyor or has a measuring tape. He answered he was neither a Surveyor nor had a measuring tape. He was further questioned on whether he has any document which shows that Edichart’s premises is less than 50 or 200 metres from another registered premises, he answered he has but that the document was in his office. Still under cross-examination, DW1 was asked whether there was any other pharmacy on Edichart street, he answered there was no other pharmacy.”

The plaintiffs had told the court that the failure of Pharmacist Council of Nigeria to show or tender the purported document which showed that the plaintiffs premises is less than 200 or 50 metres from all alleged registered premises, amounts to withholding evidence.

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