In a significant move to protect the health of Nigerian children and address the negative impact of alcohol consumption, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has officially banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets less than 200ml.
The enforcement of the ban commenced on February 1, 2024, following the expiration of a five-year window given to manufacturers, which began in 2028 and concluded on January 31, 2024.
Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, emphasized during a media address in Abuja on Monday, February 5, that this decision was not sudden but a result of a phased approach recommended by a high-powered committee involving the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and industry representatives in December 2018. The phased approach involved a 50% reduction in production by 2020, leading to an outright ban on January 31, 2024.
Prof. Adeyeye underscored the agency’s commitment to prioritizing the future of the country over other considerations, particularly safeguarding Nigerian children and protecting the overall health of society. The ban aims to address the accessibility and affordability of pocket-friendly alcoholic beverage sizes that have proven enticing to underage children.
The director-general revealed that NAFDAC did not renew licenses exceeding January 2024 for manufacturers of the banned products. The decision was grounded in the potential harm to children, citing the World Health Organization’s findings that link underage alcohol consumption to various health and social issues.
During the enforcement, it was discovered that some manufacturers continued production and possessed substantial stocks of both finished products and packaging materials. Prof. Adeyeye strongly condemned this as flagrant disobedience to Nigerian laws and warned of potential legal consequences, including prosecution.
She urged all holders of banned alcoholic beverage packaging materials to report to the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC promptly for handover and destruction. NAFDAC remains resolute in its commitment to implementing regulations that protect the health of Nigerians, particularly vulnerable youth, from the dangers of irresponsible alcohol consumption.