In reaction to confirmation of complaints from consumers on sudden increase in the prices of hand sanitizers following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) have sued four supermarkets and pharmacies.
The four supermarkets include:
1)Prince Ebeano Supermarket Limited and its proprietor, David Ojei. Committed offence between February 28 and March 6, 2020
2)Bakan Gizo Pharmacy & Stores Nigeria Limited and their representatives, Ray Opia and Luter Irene. Committed the offence on February 1 and March 9, 2020.
3)H-Medix Pharmacy & Stores Limited and their representatives, Sandra Ejekwu and John Oluwagbemiga. Committed the offence between February 28 and March 6, 2020
4)Faxx Stores & Trading Limited and its representative, Adogah Ahmed. Committed the offences between February 1 and March 24, 2020.
The lawsuit was filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The outlets were hit with a six-count charge bordering on sudden increase in the price of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, hand-wash liquids and other anti-bacterial products of different brands.
They were also accused of “exploiting the national public health emergency of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic to engage in price gouging of hand sanitizers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands and thereby engaged in the use of undue influence, pressure, unfair tactics and other obnoxious practices in connection with the supply of goods.”
“They supplied hand sanitizers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands to consumers at a price that was manifestly unfair, unreasonable and unjust; as well as disobeying without lawful excuse the lawful orders and directives of the commission against such practices”, they further alleged.
The complaints from consumers were verified during visits by officers of the agency’s Surveillance and Enforcement office.