You’d think that the deaths recorded in Ondo and Rivers States would deter people from taking locally made gin (Ogogoro), but that does not seem to be the case, at least in Benue State.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), traders of Ogogoro are enjoying a boom in business in Makurdi, the state capital, in spite of its ban by the Federal Government.
The ban unfortunately has sparked an increase in the demand of the product. Another factor is the cold weather.
A check conducted by NAN revealed that the product was being sold on streets, bars and motor-parks within Makurdi metropolis.
A cross section of the traders said the ban placed on the sale of the product was abrupt and calculated to drive them out of business.
Some of them said ending the sale of the local gin without plans to empower those in the business was unfair.
They also claimed the business was booming at the moment because of increased demand.
A producer of the gin at High-Level Motor Park, Mr John Paul, said he inherited the business from his mother and was lucrative.
“If I am asked to stop this business now, I will be jobless.
“I don’t want to kill people with the drink, but government will have to find us something else to do,’’ he said.
Mrs Ngozi Okolue, another trader behind the New Modern Market, said she still has costumers coming for the drink in spite of the concerns raised about the product.
“If the consumers stop coming and if government forces me out of the business I will surely become jobless,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Donald Iliya, a consumer of the product, said he was not aware of the ban, adding, “I drink local gin everyday in my area here’’.
Meanwhile, Mr Anikoh Ibrahim, state Coordinator of National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), told NAN on telephone that the agency was yet to enforce the ban in the state.
“We got the directive on Monday and immediately we were invited for a meeting on food safety in Abuja.
“As soon as we are back, we will embark on awareness and enforcement,’’ he said.