One of the things that differentiate a profession from a trade and occupation is a well defined formal education that is guarded with respect for the sanctity of life. Were this to be true, certain behaviours should be strange amongst professionals. But this is not the case especially nowadays where everything, anything and all things can happen within professional bodies amongst the professionals who, based on interest, can stop at nothing to shamelessly defend the indefensible to forcing the abnormal to become the new normal.

A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others.  It is inherent in the definition of a Profession that a code of ethics governs the activities of each Profession.  Such codes require behaviour and practice beyond the personal moral obligations of an individual.  They define and demand high standards of behaviour in respect to the services provided to the public and in dealing with professional colleagues.  Further, these codes are enforced by the Profession and are acknowledged and accepted by the community.Australian Council of Professions, 2003

Being a member of a Profession, e.g. a ‘Professional’, is generally seen as an indicator of integrity, ethics, trust and expertise – and such should reflect in the lives and conducts of such professionals.

Traditionally, a ‘Professional’ is someone who derives their income from their specific knowledge or experience – as opposed to a worker, hobbyist or amateur without formal education.  This meaning still carries through today to areas such as sport.  However, in the Professions, a “Professional” has a broader meaning, typically around some moral or ethical foundation within the practice of a specific and usually established expertise.

A Professional is a member of a Profession.  Professionals are governed by codes of ethics and profess commitment to competence, integrity and morality, altruism and the promotion of the public good within their expert domain. Professionals are accountable to those they serve and to society. – Evetts, J., ‘Sociological Analysis of Professionalism: Past, Present and Future’, Comparative Sociology 10, 2011

 “Professionalism’ is defined as the personally held beliefs of a Professional about their own conduct as a member of a Profession. It is often linked to the upholding of the principles, laws, ethics and conventions of a Profession in the form of a code of practice” but on a lighter mood, one of my senior colleagues once defined professionalism as “the few against the laity” during an association AGM when a hot debate on “selection against election” was on because someone was disqualified to pave way for the anointed candidate!”-

What a noble idea and lofty position from the above? What a rare privilege, one can imagine, to be a professional, belonging to a “ring fenced” profession?

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But events of recent past had put a big question mark on the much touted, coveted and guarded rights and privileges of professionals especially in Nigeria. It is rather becoming glaring that some professions have been infiltrated by self servicing and heartless criminals. And the birth of “Do or Die” politics in our clime is not helping matters. Oh yes, in the struggle for power, anything can happen and many have happened.

Many lives have been wasted on the altar of professional wrangling. Some have gone simply because of professional body’s politics.  There is virtually nothing, no evil that cannot be found amongst professionals and within professional bodies and organizations. Within the nidus of professionals today are many strange bedfellows with variegated selfish and self-centred interests that must be forced unto others and carried out at all cost else heavens must fall.  It may not be out of point admonishing one to always be careful within the professional nest and exercise a lot of caution whenever in the midst of professional colleagues to avoiding being a victim of well planned evil.

It is also necessary to be mindful of the bigger environment where one lives and operates. All that glitters is not gold. Those you may deny yourself comfort to serve may not wish you well; the people you strive to preserve and protect their lives may want to sniff out your life for no just cause; those you treat and cure their ailments may want to see you in chronic pains; the beneficiaries of the services and solutions you provide could deliberately create tough and life suffocating problems for you. The bitter truth is that some people are not happy with you and your success – and there is nothing you can do to change the situation.

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Problems are integral part of life; troubles have ways of bringing out the best in us.  It pays to disagree to agree but it is purely animalistic to fight to death because of disagreement. Has killing of any form solved any problem? No, instead it creates vacuum with a feeling of emptiness and regret at the end. But why should one not be able to handle problems and resolve troubles that such could result to taking of life – a fellow human being’s life? To say the least, it is the height of wickedness to destroy another person.  Whatever the reason, this route must be avoided; the killings must stop.

Reacting to the recent gruesome murder of a humble and hard working pharmacist in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) issued the press release captured below:

IGP: PLEASE STOP THE WANTON WASTING OF THE LIVES OF PHARMACISTS.

 

The PSN with great sense of loss and deep pain demands a stop to the gruesome murder of pharmacists in the line of duty and swift unraveling of those behind the murder of her member, Late Pharm Sunday C. Ike who was shot on the head at his practice, Suncel Pharmacy Ltd, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa in Abuja on 19th June, 2020.

 

Pharm Ike met his death at his duty post, where he laboured daily against all odds, to provide pharmaceutical care to the people of that area. His is just one in the harvest of murders within 5 years. Late Pharm Austin Chukwurah (Rivers State), Pharm Ternenge Labe (Benue State) and Pharm Anthony Mgbii (Akwa Ibom State) also met their untimely deaths at the line of duty. 

Community Pharmacists are frontline health care workers providing pharmaceutical care; responsible provision of essential medicines, chronic disease and drug therapy management to Nigerians in their respective communities. They strive daily to keep Nigeria safe and healthy but at the end, some criminal elements in the community they served, turned cruel and snuffed life out of them in their prime.

 

 Could it be money that would keep a pharmacist away from his home and family at such times these evil men cash on? The answer is no, but the sense of duty. Pharmacies are supposed to offer 24hours service but for the insecurity in our country. If data were available it will be amazing how many lives that are lost because pharmacies are closed at some point in the day.

Consequent upon these, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria requests the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately take up and strengthen the investigation already initiated by the FCT Police Command as the earlier killings cited were equally incidented at the respective state police commands but no culprit has been brought to justice till date. Sir, we urge you to please find the killers of Pharm Sunday Ike and bring them to justice. 

 

Also Pharmacists who provide over 60% of primary care in the community need to be protected if they will continue to do the good job of quality pharmaceutical care. 

 

The IGP should as a matter of urgency instruct the state Commissioners of Police to set up special patrol/surveillance to community pharmacies to ensure the safety of Pharmacists and other health workers who have suffered immeasurable hardship in the hands of these undesirable elements. 

 Nigeria cannot afford the retreat of Pharmacists on the frontline especially now that the war against COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be won. 

Pharm Ijeoma Okey-Ewurum

National Publicity Secretary

Could there be a hidden murderous gang waging a war of death against some professionals or the killings were happenstance and black coincidence of armed banditry? But in the words of Frank J. Loesch, “things like this can happen only in a city where there is an active alliance between crime and politics.” Whatever the case, let’s join hands and say, “enough is enough.”

 

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