Government arraigns supermarkets, pharmacies over sanitisers, others price hike

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect 

Amid Nigeria’s efforts being intensified at containing of COVID-19 through a number of measures being put in place, the Federal Government of Nigeria has filed charges against four supermarkets and their proprietors in Abuja, FCT, for alleged arbitrary hike of prices of sanitisers, handwash liquids, disinfectants, and other anti-bacterial hygiene products.

In the court documents by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Channels TV reports that the consumer protection agency named the four supermarkets, including their pharmacies as H-Medix Pharmacy and Stores Limited, Prince Ebeano Supermarket Limited and its proprietor, David Ojei, and Bakan Gizo Pharmacy and Stores Nigeria Limited.

The others are Ray Opia and Luter Irene and their representatives, Sandra Ejekwu and John Oluwagbemiga, as well as Faxx Stores and Trading Limited and its representative, Adogah Ahmed.

Report says in the statement of claim filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the FCCPC preferred a six-count against the four supermarkets and their owners.

The charges against the defendants, according to FCCPC, violation of Section 125 (1) (a) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018, and punishable under section 155 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

The four supermarkets were also charged with supplying hand sanitisers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands to consumers at prices that were “manifestly unfair, unreasonable and unjust”.

Disobedience without lawful excuse, the lawful orders, and directives of the FCCPC against such practices were as well brought against the respondents.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said the allegations against the accused were discovered following complaints from consumers through various social media channels.

Visits to the supermarkets and pharmacies by representatives of the FCCPC Surveillance and Enforcement team also assisted in detecting them out.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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