Nigerians spent a total of N208bn on alcohol in 2016, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
A breakdown of the nationâ€™s consumption pattern shows that the South-South zone consumed the most alcohol in the country, with N74.4bn spent on alcohol. This covers the states of Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross Rivers.
According to NBS, the North West Zone which comprises Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kano, Sokoto, and Zamfara consumed the least alcohol in the nation with N2.6bn spent on alcohol.
The government statisticians further said that the South East zone came in right behind the South-South in alcohol consumption, with N44bn spent on alcohol. This was followed by the South West with N37bn spent on alcohol, the North Central with N30bn, and the North East with N19.6bn in that order.
The data also showed that rural dwellers consumed more alcohol than urban dwellers with N125bn spent on alcohol in rural areas to N82.5bn in urban areas.
According to Abubakar Jimoh, Director of Special Duties at the National Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC), the high consumption of alcohol in the country is related to the ease of accesing the product and a disposition of Nigerians to abuse the bounds of regulation.
â€œMany of this alcohol are stored in a sachet and as such it is predisposing people to more alcohol consumption which is injurious to public health, under the realm of packaging and trying to modernise things.
â€œWe try to license people in packaging to make things easier for citizens, however, we just discovered that people have started abusing it,â€� said Mr. Jimoh who hinted that the government is in the process of addressing the problem.
â€œWe are trying to see what we can do about that, the discussion is still on and I am not trying to preempt what decision will be taken at the ministerial level. The honourable minister is also involved, trying to see the regulations and how they can protect public health, because the small sachet thing is predisposing people to more alcohol. It is easier for people to buy in small sachets which increase the quantum of the consumed alcohol,â€� Mr Jimoh said.
Although alcohol consumption varies among the different ethnic groups, cultural mores such as rituals, marriage ceremonies, and chieftaincy enthronement drive alcohol consumption.