Distillers and Blenders in the country have raised the alarm over the influx of fake and adulterated wines and alcoholic beverages into the country, and said that the smuggled, expired and contaminated drinks could lead to loss of lives if not checked.
Speaking at a joint press conference organised by the distillers and blenders association in Lagos, the Executive Secretary, Aare Fatai Odesile, said that Nigerian market has become a dumping ground for all manner of products regularly smuggled into the country without anybody checking the influx.
Odesile, who was flanked by the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Idowu Adelabu , the General Manager of Intercontinental Distillers Limited Umoren Akpan, among others said that the rate at which some unscrupulous elements smuggled foreign wines and spirits into the country's market without any control by appropriate agencies of government was alarming
He said, "If not quickly checked, it may lead to the demise of our industry, which has no doubt contributed significantly and immeasurably to the growth of the economy.
"Sadly enough, when these foreign wines, alcoholic beverages and spirits are smuggled into the market, they offer them at lower rates because they are illegally brought into the country through our porous borders without paying the normal excise duties and taxes," Odesile said.
He said that by lowering the prices of the products, the smugglers and their local collaborators have created an uneven playing field for locally produced wines and spirits.
"Not only do these unscrupulous elements create this type of obstacle for the local producers, they also go ahead to advertise these smuggled items that were neither registered with government agencies like NAFDAC and Standard Organisation of Nigeria(SON) nor with APCON thereby putting the lives and health of our people in jeopardy," the association chief said.
Odesile who urged the National Assembly to put in place legislation to regulate the sale of ethanol in the country, said that the present threat in the food and beverage industry might impact negatively on the industry that employs over 125,000 Nigerians.