NAFDAC, Wine Producers to Tackle Underage Drinking

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By Raheem Akingbolu

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has stressed the need for distillers and blenders of alcohol in the country to control the distribution of drinks to address the public health concerns resulting from under-aged drinking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Director-General, NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, stated this recently in Lagos, at the kick-off of the second phase of the campaign against irresponsible and under-age drinking by Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN).

Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mr. Sherif Olagunju, said the NAFDAC Act empowered the agency, among other functions, to regulate the import, export, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals.

Also, at the event, DIBAN leadership also announced a six-month campaign to tackle irresponsible and underage drinking among the Nigerian populace.

The Chairman of the association, Chief Patrick Anegbe, disclosed this while introducing the campaign to journalists and other stakeholders.

He noted that underage and irresponsible drinking were serious issues that must be tackled headlong even if it would affect the bottom line of the members.

According to him, this was the second phase of the campaign, which would cost the association N170 million.

Anegbe, said the advocacy would be multi-pronged, covering radio, bus branding, billboards, social media and television commercials, among others.

He added, “Underage and irresponsible drinking are issues of concern to the association. In 2019, our deep value for corporate social responsibility necessitated that we should respond with a strong advocacy platform to drive responsible drinking and zero-alcohol consumption for minors and underage.

“The campaign has been broken into three phases for smooth execution and the evaluation of our set objectives.

“On the first phase, we spent N90 million. We are on the second phase, which is a continuation of our consumer education programme, to which we have committed a total of N170 million.

“Our concern is that anyone below the age of 18 years must not drink alcohol and even the adults who want to drink must drink responsibly. We are socially responsible and that is why we are saying the underage must be protected, even if our bottom line is affected.”

Anegbe, said for the campaign to reach a wider audience, commercial buses plying Lagos roads, Abuja and inter-state routes would be branded, adding that the campaign would be pan-Nigeria, touching Kano, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Aba He said the association would continue to collaborate with regulatory agencies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Federal Ministry of Health and other government agencies.