The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has reaffirmed its decision to ban the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.
According to The PUNCH, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, emphasized that the ban was implemented in the best interest of Nigerians and aimed at saving lives.
The announcement made by Adeyeye on January 31 regarding the enforcement of the ban sparked protests from distillers and labor unions. They expressed concerns that the ban would result in the loss of jobs for approximately 500,000 workers.
Asked on Monday whether NAFDAC would review the ban in view of the growing protests, the Head of Public Relations Office, NAFDAC, Christiana Obiazikwor, said that the ban remained.
He said, “The alcoholic content in sachet or PET bottles less than 200ml is 30 per cent. Beer has four to eight per cent alcohol.
“The Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers, and Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health and NAFDAC in December 2018 that they will phase out production of alcohol in sachet and PET bottles less than 200 ml by January 31, 2024. The agreement document is available. A five-year phase-out notice should be sufficient.
“They say it’s going to lead to loss of jobs, but it can lead to loss of lives as well. So, which is more important? We are not going back (on the ban). We are doing this to save the lives of Nigerians, and commuters.
“The schoolchildren buy it and put it in their bags, so we are doing it to protect the children because they can’t take responsibility for themselves; so the leaders and adults need to take responsibility for them. Are we going to kill our children because the economy is bad?” she said.
Meanwhile, Angry drug hawkers, and touts, on Monday, attacked members of NAFDAC’s Investigation and Enforcement Directorate and mobile policemen attached to them in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The enforcement team of the agency was on a raid of fake, unregistered, and counterfeit drugs at the Area One Motor Park of the FCT when they were attacked.
While the enforcement exercise was ongoing, the hawkers and touts at the park began to throw stones and other dangerous objects at the team and journalists who were on hand to monitor the exercise.