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Protesters storm N’Assembly over sachet alcohol ban

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A coalition of civil society groups, on Wednesday, protested at the National Assembly against the ban of alcoholic beverages in sachet by the National Agency for Food And Drugs Administration and Control

The protesters led by the Coalition Against Economic Saboteurs held placards with the inscription, ‘Let The Poor Live.’

The spokesperson for the coalition, Adam Matazu, also called for the immediate sacking of NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, for her alleged anti-people policies.

The groups stated that the new policy would further pile more problems on the Nigerian economy, possibly leading to the shutdown of the industries producing the products.

They further alleged that multinationals are using Adeyeye to destroy small businesses and local production companies.

Matazu said, “Today, we address a matter of grave concern, the recent decision by the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, Prof Moji Adeyeye, to ban the sale of beverages in small sachets.

“We view this policy as a direct assault on the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, a move that will not only put countless citizens out of work but also exacerbate the existing problems of insecurity and unemployment in our nation.

“We strongly condemn this ill-thought-out policy, which seems disconnected from the realities faced by the ordinary Nigerian citizens.

“NAFDAC leadership abandoned their core responsibility of focusing on issues that truly threaten the well-being of our people, such as the inflow of fake and substandard drugs, we find the Director General choosing to target a sector that provides employment for many Nigerians and serves the needs of millions of families.”

Matazu added, “ProfMoji Adeyeye’s tenure at NAFDAC has, regrettably, been marked by disappointments and failures to deliver the desired results.

“Rather than ensuring the safety of our food and drugs, we have witnessed a surge in counterfeit beverages, creating a pervasive doubt about the authenticity of what our citizens consume.”

Another speaker, Ben Omale, also called on all stakeholders to unite against the leadership of Adeyeye.

He said, “We demand her immediate suspension from office by the President to avert further damage to our economy by causing job losses, and business closures.

“It is imperative that NAFDAC should be led by someone who prioritises the real issues affecting our nation’s health and economic stability.”

NAFDAC had on Monday announced the enforcement of the ban on importation, manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

“As of January 31, 2024, there is no alcoholic beverage in these categories that are registered by NAFDAC. I also want to inform you that the agency has started enforcement actions to enforce the implementation of this policy.

“The window period given to manufacturers by NAFDAC to sell off all alcoholic drinks in this category elapsed on January 31, 2024.

“To this end on the first day, after the elapse of the window period, the agency commenced nationwide enforcement actions on February 1, 2024 to enforce the implementation of the new policy,” Adeyeye said at a press conference.

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