Reactions Trail Ban Of Sachet Alcoholic Beverages By NAFDAC

The ban on alcoholic beverages and those in bottles below 200ml has generated several and serious reactions from the consumers and sellers of the spirits. According to those interviewed, the ban took them unawares. Sellers who spoke to our reporters lamented that they make their living from the sales, and bread winners will be out of jobs and into the oversaturated Nigerian labour market whereas the consumers enumerate the benefits they derive from the consumption.They stressed that it reduces blood sugar, takes care of stomach upset, treat general body pains and worm infection. They equally explained that why they take the sachets is because they are affordable.

The above not withstanding, many Nigerians applaud the action and policy banning the taking, sale, manufacture and importation of such spirits in the country, as the lives of the consumers are saved from ulcer and related cases especially when taken in empty stomach. They said that even children take the alcoholic drinks as it is affordable, thereby exposing them to hard drugs and drug abuse.

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Recall that on February 5, News Gazette reported that the Federal Government has started the implementation of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, and glass bottles of 200ml and below. This was according to the announcement by the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control ( NAFDAC ) , Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye at a press Conference in Abuja wherein she stated that the deadline was on the 31st January 2024 stressing that as at that date no alcoholic beverage within the stated category was registered by NAFDAC.

An elder statesman Ejims Wobo in an interview with our reporters criticised NAFDAC’s actions, stating that it is detrimental to the workforce, particularly in light of the harsh economic climate. He therefore call on the federal government to intervene and reconsider the ban. Elder Wobo however suggested that instead of outright closures, a dialogue should be initiated with the relevant stakeholders to explore viable solutions, emphasising that the industry’s involved could be willing to enhance public awareness regarding the age restrictions on alcohol sales.

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Speaking with Nwokoma Ezeigwe who is a wholesaler of sachet alcoholic drinks at the Mile 1 Market, Port Harcourt, complained bitterly on the effect of NAFDAC’s decision. He said the government should not just wake up and take certain decisions on their own, they should call for stakeholder meetings, let them know what they intend to do, give reasons why they need to do it, and also listen to the people’s opinions, for that is democracy. He advised the government to look for ways to create jobs rather than create unemployment. Adding that this one act of the government is capable of promoting criminal activities in the country.

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By Bestman Orji & Nzeuzor Jane PH