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The Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia has flayed what it described as the ‘unlawful’ detention of one of its members and Resident Electoral Commissioner of Abia State, Prof. Ikemefuna Uzochukwu, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The association, which is the umbrella body for all pharmacists working in tertiary educational institutions and research institutes across the country, said it was greatly concerned with the treatment meted out to Prof. Uzochukwu by the Service.
In a statement by the National Chairman of NAPA, Ezekiel Akinkunmi, on Friday, the association said it needed the assurance of the safety of Uzochukwu.
There were unconfirmed reports that the Abia REC was arrested on Sunday, February 26, 2023, hours after the Presidential and National Assembly elections were held on Saturday.
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The statement read in part, ‘The news of the abduction, forceful detention, false imprisonment and threat to the life of one of our members, who serves as the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Abia State, Professor Ikemefuna Uzochukwu, by the Police and the Department of State Services in Abia State, has come to our attention.
‘We have also gotten the news that he was asked to stay away from the (Independent National Electoral) Commission’s office in Abia until further notice, without any official statement as to his particular offence.
‘While we condemn all forms of electoral offences in strong terms, we wish to state categorically that we find treatment meted out to Prof. Uzochukwu very strange and we wish to condemn it out-rightly.’
Uzochukwu, the association said, is a pharmacist and a renowned Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of international repute.
‘As pharmacists and trainers of pharmacists, our core attributes include unblemished integrity, accuracy and strict adherence to ethics, rules and standards.
‘We have zero tolerance for all forms of misconduct, that is why we give the populace medicines instead of poison.
‘We can vouch for these attributes in Prof. Uzochukwu and that is why we are greatly concerned with the treatment meted to him as well as his present situation,’ the statement noted.
The association appealed to agencies of government that are concerned with handling the matter to let justice prevail on the issue.