For their immeasurable contributions to national development and humanitarian services, the Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (BOF- PSN) has awarded four eminent Nigerians and philanthropists.
The award recipients were: the Executive Vice- Chairman of Chrome Group of Companies, Dr Emeka Offor; the Chairman and CEO of Ekulo Group of Companies, Dr Emmanuel Bishop Okonkwo; Chairman and CEO, Chisco Group, Dr Chidi Anyaegbu; and the Chairman, Ibeto Microfinance Bank Ltd, Dr Cletus Ibeto.
The award presentation took place at the 2021 Mid-Year Dinner Awards programme of the BOF-PSN, held at the Sheraton Hotel Ikeja, recently.
In her remarks, the Chairman, BOF-PSN, Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo, described the recipients as great leaders and captains of industry, reputable for their countless selfless gestures.
She said :”They have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the nation and improved the lot of humanity. And their selection reflects our theme”.
Being her third and final mid-year meeting as the Chairman, Prof. Femi-Oyewo, seized the opportunity to intimate the audience on the activities of the Board, saying they instituted endowment fund projects, as promotion of excellence in Pharmacy education and research through Best Graduating Student Awards and Research Grants.
“Every year, the BOF spends millions of naira to reward academic excellence in the faculties of pharmacy in Nigerian Universities and provide Research Grants to deserving young researchers in the Pharmaceutical Science or Pharmacy Practice”, she stated.
According to the chairman, these young pharmacists must be empowered to develop their great potentials and contribute to national development and the healthcare system.
In its campaign against drug/substance abuse, its five year development plan, Femi-Oyewo acknowledged that BOF-PSN is partnering rehabilitation centres for the rehabilitation of victims.
She urged pharmacists and Nigerians on the need to say no to drug abuse: “Our children, adolescents, and youth must think wise, act smart, and say no to drugs.
“The BOF plans to launch N100m for the BOF Endowment Fund projects and to purchase size Hiace Buses worth N30m each, for each of the six geopolitical zones to campaign against drug abuse among the youth”, she disclosed.
She solicited further, “We need your support. Our children and youth are our future. We must safeguard our future and help them become great assets to our national development.”
The Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, called on the professionals to join in the fight against drug abuse, while speaking on the theme of the occasion, “National Development and Healthcare System: Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic”.
He pleaded for the support of everyone in the fight, saying their assistance is needed to check the menace towards eradicating the misuse of drugs in this country.
Mohammed also charged pharmacists to position themselves towards the issues of medicines and drug abuse in the country.
“The issue of drug distribution in Nigeria has been a great challenge. Government has put in place a national drug distribution guideline. It is, therefore, very imperative that structures geared towards achieving this are given necessary attention and concerned stakeholders to meet up with the government deadlines,” he added.
Although he outlined that the government is not taking action for now to close the open drug market for a reason, he cautioned that “we should not take government silence for a joke.
“We believe that the addressing of these structures will go a long way towards addressing the issues of drug abuse and misuse in the country”.
The registrar reminded participants how the FG attacked the issue of codeine cough syrup in this country, stating that it shows the seriousness of the government towards addressing drug misuse.
The hurdles, he continued, lie with the professionals to take a lead while calling on importers and manufacturers to key into the national drug distribution guideline.
He recommended, however, that if the source of drug supply is cut off or managed in a way that people don’t have easy access to these drugs, it would be a first finger step to addressing the issue of drug misuse and abuse in this country.
Mohammed, therefore, urged the professionals to support Federal Government programmes, most especially, the National Drug Distribution Guidelines to help check drug abuse.
He said: “This I believe is the responsibility of pharmacists in this country to be at the forefront.”