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Did the Nigerian Government Ban Sachet alcohol?

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Popular Nigerian newspaper, PunchNG published on the 13th of August 2020 a story in which it claimed the Nigerian Government had placed a ban on alcohol in sachet and polytene. 

Full Text:

Nigerian newspaper, Punch on its online platform on August 13 published a story with an headline indicating that the federal government has placed a ban on sachet alcohol and polytene. Another platform, PulseNG, also published the story with the same headline.

The opening part of the report on Punch reads partly, “The Federal Government has indicated plans to completely phase out high concentration of alcohol in sachet and small Polyethylene Terephthalate and glass bottles in the country”. 

On Twitter, the report emerged with a different but similar headline.

The above screenshot of the tweet shows that the twitter post has been retweeted (shared) over 1300 times with over 1100 replies from people who didn’t read the story itself. 

Some twitter users who disapproved of this new “ban” have since berated the government for this. 

Olushola Olufolabi, with the handle @olushola_sholamade a case for the poor “Poor people are just not allowed to live in peace in Buhari/ APC egbẹ́kẹ́gbẹ́ Nigeria”

As far as Ezrim Chibuike is concerned, with this ban in place, the government is working hard to make lives difficult for Nigerians and the opposition are not capitalizing on this opportunity to nail them .

“The worst thing is not how APC is trying so hard to make life so hard for Nigerians but how dead PDP have been recently! They should be using all these APC blunders as strong points to nail them but instead they are fast asleep. Another shop closed”, Chibuike tweeted via his handle @ChibuikeEzirm.

Other twitter users like Damor Elaa, with the handle @damorelaa, took to the comment section to bid farewell to the sachet alcohols that’ll be missed, saying:

“We’ll miss you Chelsea, action bitters, Blackwood, fire, Sabrina, Best, Eagle, Seaman, Alomo, Rootz, Lords, baby oku, Regal, erujeje, Squadron, boss, de rok, cafe rum, orijin bitters, tombo, bull, gordons, commodore, osomo”

Verification:

Going through the entire statement released by the NAFDAC DG, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Dubawa noted that there is no part of the statement where the federal government placed a ban on the sale or production of sachet/polytene alcohol. The statement is the original source of the information which the news platforms relied on.

Instead, the statement indicated that owing to risks to the environment, there will be no more registration of new products and for the existing producers, there will be a 50% capacity reduction on the production of sachet/polytene alcohol.

Dubawa also reached out to the NAFDAC Media Manager, Sayo Akintola, to seek clarification. 

Akintola noted that there is no ban in place and termed the headlines to be untrue. “We wouldn’t want to hurt the manufacturers and their employees, “The plan is to phase out sachet alcohol, but this is not an actual ban,” he said. 

Conclusion:

Although the goal of the agency is to completely phase out the consumption and production of sachet, small PET and glass bottle alcohol, NAFDAC has not placed a ban on them. The headline of the story by Punch is misleading.

The researcher produced this fact check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 fellowship to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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