In a significant move to address public health concerns, the Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated the strict enforcement of a ban on the importation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200 ml and below. This development, announced by the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, during a press conference in Abuja, marks a crucial step towards curbing the consumption of alcohol in smaller-sized packaging.
According to Adeyeye, the deadline for manufacturers to cease production in sachets and PET bottles lapsed on January 31, 2024. As of that date, NAFDAC reported that no alcoholic beverage in these categories was registered, and the agency has promptly initiated nationwide enforcement actions starting February 1, 2024.
Adeyeye emphasized the severity with which NAFDAC views non-compliance, stating, “The agency views this as flagrant disobedience to the laws of Nigeria and will engage all statutory means, which may include prosecution, to deal with the matter.” She urged holders of the banned products to report to the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC for the handover of these items to prevent potential legal consequences.
The decision to enforce the ban was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee consisting of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and industry representatives, including the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), dating back to December 2018.
Adeyeye highlighted the commitment made by alcohol producers to reduce production by 5 percent starting January 31, 2022, with the complete phase-out of these products in the country by January 31, 2024. The decision, she noted, aims to protect under-aged individuals and the general Nigerian populace.
The health risks associated with the consumption of these small-sized alcoholic beverages, especially among under-aged individuals and commercial drivers, were underscored by Adeyeye. Quoting the World Health Organization, she stated that children who consume alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behavior, suffer from health problems, and face challenges in academic performance.
In conclusion, the move to ban small-sized alcoholic beverages aligns with global health recommendations to regulate marketing and restrict the availability of alcohol, as suggested by the World Health Organization. The Federal Government’s proactive measures aim to address the potential harm posed by the consumption of these products to the well-being of the Nigerian population.
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