The National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised alarm over the proliferation of unwholesome alcohol drinks in the market, especially dry gin.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Jos, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director, Special Duties for NAFDAC, said the agency had been advising consumers to be wary of counterfeit and unregistered drinks in the market.
“Drinking alcohol is bad enough and people are always advised to take it in moderation; so, the danger associated with taking a fake drink can only be imagined,” he said.
Jimoh said the agency had taken its campaign against adulterated drinks to the northern states of Plateau, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi, among others, and had sought the assistance of traditional and religious leaders to lead in the effort.
He lamented the frequent consumption of drinks like “Ogogoro” (dry gin) and “Goskolo” by youths, and urged stakeholders to help in the fight, “especially since the youths are the group most affected”.
“We have found that the youths rely on such drinks to gather enough courage to commit all manners of atrocities like armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, killing and the rest.
“We have, therefore, continued to intensify our campaigns and that has resulted into some states coming up with bylaws that banned some alcoholic beverages.
“We have also raided production and drinking points of some of these dangerous drinks, especially in Edo and Delta States, because the drinks have damaged many livers, kidneys and other vital organs of the body.
“They have also led to the gradual decline in the health status of many youths and totally destroyed their capacity to contribute to societal development,” he said.
Jimoh said that consumption of unwholesome alcohol by youths required special attention, especially now that government was asking Nigerians to go back to the farm in efforts to diversify the economy.
“Farming requires a lot of energy – which is the asset of youths. The drinks destroy that energy, hence the need to rid society of them,” he said.
The NAFDAC official said it was often difficult to differentiate the fake drinks from the original since producers of these drinks use empty bottles of the originals that have a registered NAFDAC license to perpetuate their fraud and sell to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Our advice is that the consumers must always be on the watch-out,” he said.
He called on more state governors to help protect the public and said some governors in the past have merely paid lip service to the campaign against fake drinks and drugs.
Jimoh said he was satisfied with the agency’s war against counterfeit drinks and drugs.
“The prevalence rate used to be 16.7%, now we have battled it down to 3.4% and shall never relent in the war,” he added.