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Published On: Fri, Dec 24th, 2021

‘Agbo’ Sellers Protest Against Alleged Harassment By Delta State Traditional Medicine Board

‘Agbo’ Sellers in Delta State on Tuesday troop  to the street of Asaba, Delta state protesting against what they described as harassment  by The Delta State Traditional Medicine Board.

The  group of women who took their  protest to the Government House in Asaba carried  placards  with the inscriptions, “The Delta State Traditional Medicine Board tormenting our lives, we the Agbo sellers in Asaba and Okpanam, etc”.

They accused  officials of the Delta State Traditional Medicine Board of  harassing  and chasing them about as they hawked their ‘Agbo’ products.

They accused the board of high-handedness and desperate attempt to compel them to pay #30,000 for certificate and  another #4,000 for identity card every six months.

According to Mrs. Ariyo Sulihat who spoke on behalf of others, “every attempt by the union to dialogue with the board on the way forward had proved abortive.

“They said they don’t know the union, that every sales girl must come to register. The officials have continued to arrest us for no just cause because we are looking for what to eat,” she said.

“We want the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to know that we don’t want to work with the board; we already have an association. We belong to the Yoruba Community Traditional Medicine Association under a Native Doctor (Asiwaju). We are fine there,  they should let us  do our work,” she said.

Reacting to the allegations the Deputy Secretary of the  Delta State Traditional Medicine Board, Barr. (Mrs) Bridget Omonemu, has described the protest by ‘Agbo’ sellers in the state as uncalled for and an act of total disrespect to constituted authority, saddled with the responsibility of regulating the activities of traditional medicine practitioners in the state.

She pointed out that  no resident of the state had a right to go against government policies or hold a regulatory body to ransom.

According to Omonemu, “the allegation that our field officers are chasing them about and not allowing them to sell their products until they pay #30,000 to obtain a practicing certificate and another #4,000 to obtain identity card every six months is not true.”

“What we do as a regulatory and revenue generating board is to oversee everything under the purview of traditional medicine, which the ‘Agbo’ product is part of. They fall under native doctors, and a doctor – trained physician or native doctor is a person who administers substance for the wellbeing of somebody. Of course, we have our guideline for this,” she argued.

“Now, these girls come to town to sell these products for their employers who do the processing and production; sometimes they buy, cook and sell. And we said, let the boss (Agbo business owner) come to register with us and obtain a practicing certificate/licence with a fee of #30,000.00. And to keep a monitoring record of the sellers, they should obtain an annual identity card to enable us keep a track on them. This is what the law setting up the board said, that we must maintain a register of traditional medicine practitioners in the state,” she clarified.

“It may interest you to know that we are not against their unions or associations.  There are various groups or factions of these ‘Agbo’ sellers under various Asiwajus. We don’t have any problem with the Asiwaju of Asaba, Ibusa, Agbor and the rest of them across the state. They are cooperating with us. The only one that is the problem is the Asiwaju of Okpanam who is organising these girls against the board and the policies of the state government on traditional medicine,” she added.

“The Asiwaju came to the office the other day and walked out on us while we were still discussing. He doesn’t want to obey the law. He said we should leave the girls, that he would be the one dealing with us while the girls should remain under his supervision under the name of Yoruba Community Traditional Native Doctors Association. And we said no, we have had instances where some of these girls were asked to taste the product they are selling and they ran away,” she added.

“We have had cases of abnormal reactions after an ‘Agbo’ was taken. In most cases they mix Tramadol and other substances of hard drug into the ‘Agbo’. These are some of the things we want to check and possibly give them orientation and trainings on how to handle their products in terms of the water used, environment where the ‘Agbo’ is cooked, the use of disposable cups instead of one general cup serving everybody and many others,” Omonemu stated.

 

Delta State News Bulletin

 

 

 

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