Economy

‘Don’t Take Away Our Source Of Consolation’, Ogun Motorists Kick Against FG’s Ban On Sachet Alcoholic Drinks

By Balikis Folaji, Amarachi Akalefu, Teslimot Badmus & Bukunmi Ojo

ABEOKUTA – Following the ban on the consumption of sachet alcoholic drinks by the federal government, motorists in Ogun state have kicked against the federal government’s decisions.

Those who spoke with THE ENCOUNTER NEWS condemned the federal government act, describing it as a misplaced priority.

Recall that in January this year, NAFDAC banned the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles for reasons not unconnected with the prevailing cases of drug abuse in the country, especially by some young Nigerians.

According to Mr. Damilare Shodipe, an Okada rider in Abeokuta, banning sachet alcoholic drinks is not the most pressing matter for the government in the face of the current economic hardship.

He stressed further that sachet alcoholic drinks remain the cheapest to buy as the bottled ones are too expensive to afford.

Shodipe added that the consumption of the sachet alcoholic drinks awakened the consciousness of many transporters.

“If guys are not addicted with frolicking with girls they will be addicted with alcohol, as for me I prefer taking alcohol than frolicking it also makes my thinking faculty high. It make me think straight when I’m depressed or when bad thoughts are running through my head, I drink sachet alcohol to clear them off.

“Garri, Rice, beans, bread, fish are unaffordable to eat, now the only thing we have that gives us joy and consolation, they want to take it away. How many Okada riders or taxi drivers can afford to buy N2000 bottled gin?”

In her own submission, an alcoholic seller at Ilaro Yewa, simply identified as ‘Iya Ibeji’ condemned the move by the federal government ban, saying it is killing of common man survival.

She also said the government should be more concerned in reducing the inflation rate and high cost of foodstuff in the market.

She pointed out that the sales of the sachet alcoholic drink remain a means of survival for some people who have chosen such business as their source of livelihood.

“It is a very bad decision from the federal government because there is no other means for me to survive and cater for my children.’’

They, therefore, called on the federal government to rescind its decision on the ban of sachet alcoholic drinks.

They said the government should channel its energy on more profitable adventures that will be more beneficial to the common man in the street.

Meanwhile, The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to probe the circumstances surrounding the ban imposed on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the agency.

This was sequel to a motion moved on the floor of the Green Chamber by members Paschal Agbodike and Philip Agbese during the plenary session on Wednesday.

Leading the debate on the motion, Agbbodike noted that Section 4(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof.

He also noted that Sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empower the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly including National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

He said, “NAFDAC had announced its decision to stop the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles in January 2024 when the Director General of the Agency informed the public that the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered products will not exceed January 2024.

“The decision to ban the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and runs against the Economic Recovery Plan of the current administration.”

He argued that the House is worried that given the numerous economic challenges confronting poor Nigerians, “The ban on the production of the said beverages will work more havoc and cause job losses for over 50 per cent of the workers in Nigeria.”

He continued, “The need to encourage the sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises which are the greatest employer of labour in Nigeria, employing over 84 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria, NAFDAC’s policy to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will be counterproductive.

“The decision to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will encourage unscrupulous elements to go about the production of such drinks and products without recourse to NAFDAC.

He further explained that the ban on the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles will worsen the poverty situation in the country.

The motion was subsequently referred to the Committee on NAFDAC for further legislative input.

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