– Holds ground-breaking and debenture ceremony in style
It was a gathering of eminent pharmacists in the country as the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, organised a ground breaking and debenture ceremony towards raising funds for the construction of their much publicised ultramodern Pharmacy Tower, an eight-storey building, estimated to cost N1.980 billion in Lagos.
Speaking at the occasion, the PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, said the occasion was historical because the dreams of the fore fathers of Pharmacy in the country is being kept alive with the ground breaking ceremony, adding that the land was purchased in 1979, Forty-One years ago by the then president, Pharm. (Sir) Sam Agboifo, whose last wish before his death was that the building becomes a reality.
Although he noted that there have been several efforts by the past administrations before him to keep the dream alive, but it has been difficult because the resources needed to build such a monumental edifice is more than the money realized from the members capitation fees and annual dues, saying at some points, the Society ran into the hands of fraudsters.
“As we all can see, this is a prime place and it was well sought after, especially in a highly competitive area of Lagos like this. So it took the enormous efforts of the former president, Alh. Ahmed Yakasai, with the support of his predecessor, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, and other notable personalities, including the Oba of Lagos, Oba Ridwan Akiolu, to retrieve the land back to us,” he said.
Speaking enthusiastically about the choice area where the land is located, which is along the popular Church Gate Street, in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos, Ohuabunwa described the proposed Pharmacy Tower as a symbol of renewed glory for the PSN, saying the Tower will house a National Drug and Poison Information Centre, and Emergency Response and Research Centre, which would serve as centre for the fight against drug abuse and misuse, as well as resource centre for the pharmaceutical industry.
“The Pharmacy Tower project seeks to raise a Seven-Year 20 per cent per annum fixed rate debenture worth N1.98 billion through cooperative fund raising. Debentures are exempted from all forms of taxation in Nigeria in accordance with the Companies Income Tax Order 2011, the Value Added Tax Oder 2011, and the Personal Income Tax Act 2011, as amended. This implies that return made to holders of the debenture are clear of Income and Capital Gains Taxes at the Federal and State level,” he said.
He however assured that at the completion of the building, it shall be managed professionally outside the influence of PSN bureaucracy.
In his address at the event, an elated Pharm. (Dr) John Nwaiwu, chairman, Project Committee appreciated God who made the day a reality, adding that the verse of the country’s national anthem, ‘the labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain’, has manifested with the epic landmark the Pharmacy profession is attaining with the ground breaking of the eight-storey building edifice which will house the secretariat of PSN, as well as Drug and Poison Information, Emergency Response and Research Centre.
Nwaiwu tasked all pharmacists in the country and beyond to commit a reasonable amount of their resources to fund the project by way of subscribing to the debenture scheme, adding that all investors, corporate and individual will have their names engraved in corresponding plaques which shall be displayed for posterity in the hall of honour of the Pharmacy Tower.
Also speaking, Pharm. (Dr) Nnamdi Obi, managing director, Embassy Pharmaceuticals Limited, and the Project Mobiliser for Pharmacy Tower, said the project was long overdue having acquired the land over Forty years ago.
According to him, all pharmacists nationwide should identify with the project as Pharmacy project because when completed, it would bring honour and glory to the profession, and as well make the practitioners proud.
Obi, who donated handsomely towards the Debenture, however described the effort to have the Pharmacy Tower as a step in the right direction, saying all stakeholders in the profession and other well-meaning Nigerians who wished to have their names written in the book of history should endeavour to support the PSN by investing in the Debenture towards raising the amount needed for the completion of the building, saying no amount is too small.
The duo of Dr (Mrs) Stella Okoli, chief executive director, Emzor Group and Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, chairman, Board of Fellows, said the project couldn’t have come at a better time, having acquired the land for about Forty-One years.
Mrs Okoli who also donated copiously towards the Debenture, however tasked all stakeholders in the profession to come together in unity and ensure the project becomes a reality within the project timeline, adding that Emzor will continue to support the project until it is finally completed.
Present at the programme were the National Secretary, PSN, Pharm. Emeka Duru; Pharm. (Mrs) Rosemary Nikoro, secretary, Board of Fellows; Pharm. (Mrs) Bukky George, chief executive officer, Healthplus Pharmacy; Pharm. (Mrs) Talatu Ebunne, former chairman, ACPN, Kaduna State; Sir Ike Onyechi, chief executive officer , Alpha Pharmacy Nigeria Limited; Pharm. (Mrs) Yetunde Morohundiya, former national chairperson, ALPs; Pharm. Ade Popoola, managing director, Real Pharma Limited; Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Tijani Yahaya, chairman, PSN, Niger State.
Also in attendance were: Pharm. Chima Agnelius Ogbu, chairman, PSN, Rivers State; Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos State; Mr Santosh Kumar, managing director, WWCVL; Pharm. Tony Akhimien, former president, PSN; Pharm. Azubuike Okwor, former president, PSN; Pharm. Nike Adenuga; Pharm. Tope Bakare, chief executive officer, Medplus Pharmacy; Distinguished Professor Cecilia Igwilo; Pharm. Chris Ehimen, chairman, Nett Pharmacy; Dr Ejiro Foyibo, first vice-president, PSN, South; Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman, NAIP; Pharm. Isah Mohammed, chairman YPG ; Pharm. (Mrs) Ukamaka Okafor, among numerous others.