The National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has alerted Nigerians of the prevalence of fake alcoholic drinks, especially dry gin, in the nation’s markets.
Dr Abubakar Jimoh, its Director, Special Duties, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Tuesday that the agency had continued to advise consumers of alcoholic beverages to be alert and be very wary of fake and unregistered drinks.
“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 that the agency had taken its campaign against fake drinks to Plateau, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi and many other states in North, and had engaged traditional and religious leaders to lead the efforts.
He particularly decried the rampant consumption of drinks like Ogogoro (dry gin) and `goskolo’ by youths, and urged stakeholders to join 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 the drinks issue 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 explained that it was usually difficult to distinguish between the fake and genuine drinks because “many producers usually gather empty bottles with NAFDAC-approved badges and pour the fake contents into them.
“Our advice is that the consumers must always be on the watch-out,” he said.
He called for more proactive steps from governors to protect members of the public, and alleged that most governors had always paid lip service to the campaign against fake drugs and drinks.
Jimoh expressed satisfaction over the agency’s achievements in its war against counterfeit drinks and drugs.
“The prevalent rate used to be 16.7 per cent, now we have battled it down to 3.4 per cent and shall never relent in the war,” he said.