The federal government has filed charges to prosecute four super markets and their proprietors for alleged hike in price of sanitizers, hand wash liquids, disinfectant and other anti-bacterial hygiene products.

Court documents made available to thetraffickedblog on Friday by the “federal competition and consumer protection council” (FCCPC) listed the four supermarket which included pharmacies such as prince ebeano supermarket limited and it’s proprietor “David ojei“, Bakan Gizo Pharmacy & Stores Nigeria Limited, H-Medix Pharmacy and Stores Limited and the representatives, Sandra Ejekwu and John Oluwagbemiga, as well as Faxx Stores & Trading Limited and the representative, Adogah Ahmed.

The FCCPC preferred a six count charge against the four supermarket and it’s owners. The charges against them are for violating 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 supermarket in question were also charged with supplying hand sanitisers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands to consumers at a price that was unfair, unreasonable and unjust considering the situation of the country.

Their charges also included disobedience without lawful excuse. The commission said the allegations against the accused were discovered following complaints and cries from consumers through various social media channels, as well as visits to their supermarkets and pharmacies by representatives of its surveillance and enforcement office. In the wake of the viral spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission issued statements on February 28 and March 24 warning marketers of dire consequences for unreasonable increases in the price of personal hygiene products required by consumers for prevention and against the further spread.

The Commission accused Prince Ebeano Supermarket Limited and H-Medix Pharmacy & Stores Ltd of committing the offences between February 28 and March 6, 2020.FAXX Stores & Trading Ltd was accused of committing the offences between February 1 and March 24, 2020, and Bakan Gizo Pharmacy & Stores Nigeria Ltd February 1 and March 9, 2020.During the visits, the Commission said its officials reviewed their daily sales records, purchase invoices, receipts for the purchase of the items, and sample products.Early this month, the Commission said it observed that certain suppliers and retailers were taking undue advantage of citizens and engaging in unconscionable trade practices over basic safety and protective products necessary in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

This unusual and inordinate practice of unreasonably increasing the price of these products in an indiscriminate manner, on account of the national public health concern (Coronavirus) violates both moral codes and extant law,” the Commission said.“Abusing citizens’ sensitivity, apprehension, anxiety and vulnerability, especially during emergencies that could adversely affect national security is a violation of the law, specifically, Section 17(s) of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) prohibits “obnoxious trade practices”, or the “unscrupulous exploitation of consumers”.

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

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