By Evelyn Usman & Esther Onyegbula
LAGOS—An illegal factory where various brands of adulterated wine and liquor are produced has been uncovered at Ajuwon market, in Mushin area of Lagos, by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command.
Arrested, was the owner of the factory, 55-year-old Benjamin Ojukwu, who confessed to having been running the factory, where the adulterated drinks are packaged and sold to unsuspecting Nigerians at the same price with the market rate, since 2005.
Recovered were empty bottles of Hennessy, Black label, Gordons, Grand Masters, Blue Label wine among other popular spirits.
Vanguard gathered that customers came from different parts of the South West region to patronize the suspect.
The bubble burst last Friday, after the Area Commander ‘D’ Mushin, Akinbayo Olasoji, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who got wind of the sale of adulterated wines, led a team of policemen to the factory.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, who paraded the suspect alongside other suspected criminals that have been terrorising the state, explained that after a search warrant was executed in the suspect’s factory, a room which also served as his house, “Labelled bottle corks of different types of wine and hot drinks, empty wine bottles and various brands of wines and hot drinks were recovered.
“To get to the root of this case, the command is working closely with NAFDAC to ensure that all samples are analysed, after which the suspect will be charged to court. We won’t allow this type of thing to happen in Lagos.”
When approached, the suspect said: “I learned how to produce dry gin and other spirits from Taiwan.
“Thereafter, I opened a factory in Nnewi, Anambra State, after getting approval from NAFDAC. Barely had I started operating than my shop was gutted by fire. I ventured into menial jobs to make ends meet. In the process, my wife left me.
Seven years later, I was able to raise some money and relocated to Lagos where I started producing the drinks in my apartment.
“I buy these bottles and packs (pointing at the exhibit) from clubs, markets and scavengers at N70 and N100. After producing the drinks, I would fill them in the bottles and sell at the same price with the market rate.
“I produce once a month and they taste like the original. I have my own label; it includes Abel Schnapps Affonso, American Hennessy and Label 5 drinks, which are my original products.
I was waiting to raise money to acquire the necessary machines and other requirements before applying for NAFDAC registration”, said the Anambra State born suspect.