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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Manufacturer of fake alcohol arrested in Lagos to be prosecuted by NAFDAC

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An illegal alcohol manufacturing factory operating in Badagry, Lagos State, has been shut down by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The agency, in a statement Sunday noted that its enforcement officers, aided by intelligence from the Nigerian Army’s 15 Field Engineering Regiment in Badagry, dismantled the operations of Chinedu Okafor, the manufacturer of the illegal drinks.

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Mr Okafor said to be operating from his residence, will face prosecution, and all illegal products, with an estimated value of over ₦50,000,000, will be destroyed.

NAFDAC explained that the manufacturer’s activities caught the attention of the Nigerian Army, leading to his arrest and subsequent handover to NAFDAC officers at the Ports Inspection Directorate, Seme Border.

“Upon inspection, officers evacuated all equipment and materials used in the production of illicit drinks and effectively shut down the illegal factory,” it said.

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“Investigations revealed Mr Okafor’s longstanding involvement in the criminal activity, which has potentially compromised regulated alcohol drinks in the Badagry area.”

Adulterated alcohol

NAFDAC further explained that drinking adulterated alcohol can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness, dizziness, irregular or slow breathing, low body temperature, and unconsciousness, among others.

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It noted that adulterated alcohol can also lead to kidney and liver failure or even death, adding that methanol, a substance which can be used in fake vodka, may cause permanent blindness.

NAFDAC cited WHO’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, which estimated that globally, more than three million people die every year as a result of alcohol poisoning.

Also, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that one in every ten cancer cases in Nigeria can be traced to alcohol and 4.7 per cent of overall cancer cases in Nigeria in 2019 can be attributed to the consumption of adulterated alcohol.

NAFDAC emphasised the need for public vigilance and urged citizens to report suspicious activities to safeguard public health.

In March, the agency uncovered illegal activities involving the production and distribution of various brands of alcoholic beverages at the Trade Fair Complex in Lagos State.

NAFDAC’s Investigation and Enforcement Directorate found mini plastic mixing tanks, improvised filters, cartons of empty bottles with intact labels, corks, packaging materials, and assorted already produced and packaged drinks.

How to identify good drinks

Before buying alcohol, NAFDAC suggested that Nigerians should consider the “4 Ps”, which are the place, price, packaging and product.

“Buy only NAFDAC-registered drinks from reputable and licenced retailers, bars and supermarkets,” NAFDAC said.

“If the product is sold well below its normal price or doesn’t seem to include normal liquor taxes, it is probably fake.

It added that Nigerians should check for poor-quality packaging, spelling mistakes and unusually shaped bottles to ascertain the quality of the product.

READ ALSO: NAFDAC shuts substandard bakeries, water factories in Rivers

The Director General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, was quoted to have reiterated that NAFDAC will continue to ensure that the level of counterfeit products nationwide is brought to the nearest minimum.

‘’The public is enjoined to report any suspicious activity of illegal producers of adulterated products or similar activities to the nearest NAFDAC office nationwide,” Mrs Adeyeye said.

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