A coalition of civil society groups staged a protest at the National Assembly on Wednesday to express their opposition to the ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Led by the Coalition Against Economic Saboteurs, the protesters carried placards with the inscription, ‘Let The Poor Live.’
Adam Matazu, the spokesperson for the coalition, called for the immediate dismissal of NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, citing her alleged anti-people policies. The groups argued that the ban would exacerbate economic challenges in Nigeria, potentially leading to the closure of industries producing these products. They also accused multinational corporations of influencing Adeyeye to undermine small businesses and local production companies.
Matazu condemned the policy as detrimental to the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, emphasizing its potential to increase unemployment and insecurity. He criticized NAFDAC’s focus on banning sachet beverages instead of addressing more pressing issues such as counterfeit drugs.
Ben Omale, another speaker at the protest, called for unity among stakeholders to oppose Adeyeye’s leadership and demanded her immediate suspension from office to prevent further economic damage.
NAFDAC had announced the enforcement of the ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below, citing safety concerns. Adeyeye stated that the agency had commenced nationwide enforcement actions to implement the new policy after the window period for manufacturers to sell off existing stocks elapsed on January 31, 2024.
The protesters expressed concerns about the impact of the ban on the economy and called for a reconsideration of the policy, urging NAFDAC to focus on addressing genuine health and economic challenges facing the nation.