A man identified as David Ozoemenam, who was arrested by the Police in Lagos for producing fake gin in Lagos, has stated that he was sold out by haters envying his progress in the business.
According to a report by The Punch, the man was arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
He was said to have led the detectives to his four-room apartment on Tuara Street, Progress Estate, Iba, Lagos, where he resides and uses for distilling gin.
The equipment he used for producing the drinks and several brands of alcohol carrying purported National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration number were recovered by the police.
Further investigation by the police, however, revealed that the NAFDAC number was fake.
A senior officer told City Round that the raid on Ozoemenam’s factory was informed by several complaints from members of the public over the health hazard posed by illegally-manufactured beverages.
“Based on this, the IRT Commander, DCP Abba Kyari, directed a special team to uncover such factories that manufacture the alleged fake drinks in Lagos and arrest the illegal manufacturers.
“Detectives discovered Ozoemenam’s factory in his residential building and started monitoring him and his illegal manufacturing activities. He was trailed to one of the markets where he bought empty bottles he used in bottling the said fake drinks and was arrested.”
The officer added that Ozoemenam led investigators to Ikeja and Ojota where he procured ingredients for distilling the drinks.
In his statement to the police, the suspect, who hails from Azigbo village in the Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, claimed the drinks he produced were not substandard.
The father of three children said he used fake NAFDAC number because he did not have the financial means to authenticate his product through the agency.
He stated that he overlooked the authentication in the long run because most of his customers did not care about verifying the fake label he used.
“I came to Lagos in 1999 and lived with one Daniel as a trading apprentice. He is my master who taught me buying and selling of drinks for six years but nobody taught me how to manufacture them.
“My brand name is Stock and I manufacture Stock gins and Brandy. I don’t have NAFDAC number because at the time I started, I had financial problem and I could not pay for NAFDAC number. Moreover, customers don’t know the difference between a genuine and fake NAFDAC number they feel it is a waste of time to check it. The majority of the customers don’t have time to examine the number pasted on the bottles of the products. I have a Sienna car which I use to supply my products to my customers within Iyana-Iba.”
Ozoemenam said he started the business in September 2019 and realised about N150, 000 in profit monthly.
He stated that he was introduced to the business by two of his friends, who were doing well in it.
“I decided to go into it and see if I would become rich like them. I told my wife and she advised me to go ahead so far it would bring much money. I went to Ojota to get the ingredients and started mixing them based on what I copied from companies that manufacture drinks.
“I copy the percentage of the ingredients as written in the label of a particular brand to manufacture my own drinks. At times, I seek advice from companies that sell the ingredients to me including the measurement.”
The suspect stated further that he printed his product labels around Ojo Barracks.
Asked if he knew his products could pose health issues, he said, “There is no health hazard in what I manufacture because I used to taste it before I supplied to customers. The ingredients I use are standard and original.”
He said his arrest was masterminded by people who were into the same business but were unhappy with his ‘rapid progress.’
“They started giving out bad and unfounded information against me. My enemies are just envying me and trying to put me out of work,” he added.