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Liquor sellers in Ibadan protest prohibition of sachet alcoholic drinks



Scores of liquor sellers, on Thursday in Ibadan, staged a peaceful protest against prohibition of production and sales of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The protesters, under the aegis of Oyo State Liquor Sellers Association of Nigeria, stormed the Federal Secretariat Complex in Ikolaba area of Ibadan, where the state office of NAFDAC is located, to express dissatisfaction with the prohibition.

The liquor sellers, led by the association’s President and Secretary, Chief Gbadegesin Adeagbo and Chief Adebayo Ajibade respectively, were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions, calling on NAFDAC to rescind its decision.

It was reported that Adeagbo and Ajibade took turns to speak with the South-West Zonal Director of NAFDAC, Mrs Roseline Ajayi, on the needs for government to reverse its decision on the matter.

According to Adeagbo, the union has more than 50,000 members who depend on the daily sales of the alcoholic drinks for survival, adding that their outright prohibition would have negative impact on their living standards.

He said that the news on the prohibition of the production and sales of the product had inflicted psychological, emotional, mental and economical trauma on some of his members.

On his part, Ajibade pleaded with the Federal Government and the NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye to consider the plight of liquor sellers as a result of the prohibition.

“We appeal to NAFDAC to rescind its decision on the matter to prevent untimely death among us and some of us from becoming street beggars because the decision will definitely take us out of business,” he said.

Responding, Ajayi said that the ban was aimed at controlling unrestricted access to alcoholic drinks by the underage which, she said, posed health risks to them.

She noted that in 2010 at the World Health Assembly, held in Geneva, there was a concern that the rate at which alcohol was available to young people was alarming and thus leading to addiction.

“At that forum, all the countries were advised to go and stimulate strategies that would reduce alcohol accessibility to young people.

“But in Nigeria, nothing happened till 2018 when the federal government, NAFDAC, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers and other relevant stakeholders held a meeting.

“At the meeting it was resolved that a five-year grace be given before the prohibition of the sales of 200ml sachet alcohol.

“The five-year grace ended in February and that is the reason the NAFDAC D-G announced the prohibition,” she said.

The zonal director, however, said that the national assembly had made a declaration on the suspension of the enforcement of the prohibition.

“As we speak now, the ban was a ministerial directive, and with the pronouncement from the national assembly, the minister hasn’t said anything to our director-general.

“So as we are now, I do not see any reason for this protest because we are still waiting for a directive on whether we will go ahead with the prohibition or rescind it.

“I can only appeal to you to wait till we get another ministerial directive. It is not in my power to say the enforcement will continue or stop,” she said.

Ajayi, however, assured the protesters that their message would be delivered to the appropriate authorities, even as she urged them to remain calm and maintain peace.

David Adeoye

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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