Despite legal drinking age put at a minimum of 18 years, alcohol is strangely one of the most commonly used and abused substances by juveniles in Nigeria. Moreover, it is illegal to sell, serve or supply alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 18 years nationwide.
It is so obvious that the retailers have largely ignored this legal intervention designed to restrict the sale of alcohol to the underaged. However, government has not been helpful. The underage drinking law for many years is yet to be sufficiently enforced to curb this menace.
Even the intervention strategies employed by the brewery giants through age verification programmes have not been satisfactorily fulfilled by both their dealers and retailers and the organisations themselves. Worse still, the traders and minors have closed their eyes to the boldly inscribed “18+” indicating the age minimum for alcoholic brands.
These, perhaps, explain why alcohol still remains readily available to teenagers who procure it from retail and social sources. Most worrisome is the increasing influx of registered and unregistered alcohol in sachets, which has further enhanced its accessibility to children. Hence the prevalence of underage drinking becoming unacceptably high. Curbing it and its consequences are increasingly becoming a major health priority.
Aside from government and schools, beverage manufacturers have also consistently shown concern about underaged drinking. They see it as a major problem and they all want to prevent it. As far back as 2015, Guinness Nigeria launched an age verification programme in this regard.
At the commencement of the exercise the brewery partnered with four leading supermarket chains in Lagos, namely, Adide Stores, JustRite Superstores, SPAR Artee Group and Grocery Bazaar Limited, to institute a culture of intolerance for alcohol consumption by persons under the legal purchase and drinking age of 18. Through the programme, persons below 18 years were neither served nor allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages in the stores. If the age of the youngsters was in doubt, identification was required before patronage.
It was a laudable effort designed to restrict the sale of Guinness alcoholic brands to the underaged, but yours sincerely is not in the know on how long this control mechanism lasted or if it still persists, and to what extent. The programme gave flesh to one of Guinness Nigeria’s creed, which states that alcohol is strictly for adults; in other words, children and alcohol do not mix.
Lately, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), under the auspices of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), joined the campaign against underage drinking. The self-regulatory effort is a two-pronged approach developed to promote responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages while discouraging its sale to users below the age of 18.
To implement these strategies efficiently and effectively, DIBAN engaged two marketing communication agencies, Bluebird Marketing Communications Limited and Brand Believers Communications Limited, for the outdoor and radio campaigns, respectively.
Subsequent to the association’s brief to Bluebird to educate and enlighten the target audience and the general public on responsible consumption of alcohol, the agency created key messages with the central theme “Make a Difference,” “Get Involved” and other sub-themes that have since been deployed on billboards, while BRT buses conveyed themes like “Drink Responsibly,” “Do Not Abuse Alcohol,” “-18 Too Young to Drink,” and “Don’t Sell Alcohol to Anyone Under 18 Years.”
In DIBAN’s letter, titled “Status Report: Advocacy and Messaging on Alcohol Intake by Minors and Underage,” dated May 6, 2019, and addressed to the director-general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the association stated that two billboards with an estimated viewership of 750,050 and 770,000, respectively, have been deployed in Abuja, in addition to the branded five buses in the Federal Capital Territory.
According to the letter signed by Patrick Anegbe, the association’s chairman, the campaign is billed to run for a period of six months, from March 11, 2019, to September 10, 2019. The letter also indicated that two billboards were deployed in Lagos alongside 10 buses plying strategic routes in Lagos with an estimated number of viewers put at 576,000 within the time of review.
So far, Brand Believers Communications Limited has presented four campaign themes tagged “Drink Moderately,” “Health is Wealth,” “Enjoy Life to the Fullest,” and “Don’t Mix.” The on-going pan-Nigerian radio campaign sensitises consumers about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. The alcohol control initiative also includes collaboration with civil society groups, under the supervision of NAFDAC, to galvanise efforts towards reducing individual alcohol consumption, underage drinking and improving responsible drinking; in addition to partnership with other regulatory bodies to promote checks on the products.
The letter further disclosed the form the second phase of the campaign would take, when it takes off in October. A massive training of distributors and retailers on the need to avoid sale of alcoholic beverages to underage individuals would be given priority. This, according to the DIBAN, will require the development of an appropriate training manual in major Nigeria languages.
The third phase of the campaign, through which DIBAN will engage the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), is expected to commence in March 2020. The collaboration will enable the two bodies to work out how the compulsory possession of the national identity card, which includes information on age, will be the basis to provide evidence of age before sale. It is also expected that this phase will join force with government to identify unregulated producers whose products are essentially substandard and can be dangerous to human health.
In summary, daily audience population for Lagos stations has been put at 4,584,034, while Abuja and Kaduna audience populations are 1,017,168 and 2,923,116, respectively. The cumulative daily audience across Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna is 8,524,318.
The total campaign duration is 24 weeks and 3,456 spots spread across the stations.
Greenwood House School wins APEN spelling bee competition
•Obtains Council of British International Schools membership status
Greenwood House School, a nursery and primary school in Ikoyi, has emerged the winning school in the Association of Private Educators in Nigeria/Grace Schools Senior Primary Spelling Bee Competition. The competition, tagged “Super Spellers,” had 51 participants from several schools in Lagos and held at Grace Schools, Gbagada, Lagos, recently.
Fitrah Adegbite, a 10-year-old Primary 5 student who represented Greenwood House School in the competition, defined his achievement as a result of the intense support and training from his teachers at Greenwood House School. He was very happy that his hard work and commitment paid off.
Commenting on the student’s performance in the spelling bee, Dr. Titilola Ekua Abudu, co-founder and administrator of Greenwood House School, explained that the school was always committed to giving students the best education; the teachers spend quality time preparing the students for competitions like this and the management is highly impressed about the success of the spelling bee.
On how the students are prepared for spelling competitions, Dr. Abudu explained that, “The students practice regularly and for the finals at least three times daily. A teacher is primarily assigned to each student, with other teachers to support. Sometimes, they spare time after school to train. We applaud competitions like this as they play a role in motivating students to work hard and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity extended to us to partake.”
There was more good news for Greenwood House School as it was recently awarded membership status by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). COBIS is an organisation in service of British international schools around the globe. This membership indicates total quality assurance and reiterates Greenwood House School’s commitment to excellent, all-round quality education for students and its dedication to teacher training.
Babaeko, Novia to speak at Creative Content Development retreat
Steve Babaeko, managing director of Xtreme Ideas, and Charles Novia, film-maker and creative entrepreneur, are among the confirmed speakers at the first of the series of professional development courses rolled out by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) for 2019.
According to a statement issued by APCON and signed by Mr. Joe Eugene Onuoha, deputy director, registration and professional development, the two-day programme, coordinated by Eyitemi Taire, lead consultant at Techno-Culture Limited, is packaged to offer both learning and retreat experience to middle-level managers desiring to make a mark in various areas of the marketing communications industry in Nigeria. The programme is residential and holds June 26 and 27, 2019 at the classy and secluded Sun Haven Hotel, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The theme of the programme is “Creative Content Development and Delivery for Marketing Success” and will feature several sessions focusing on such topics as the place/importance of story-telling; the African style of story-telling; developing the African brand story; developing a content marketing story; and social media content creation, among others.