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Toxic Ogogoro Production And The People Of Ikpe Community

{Last update December 2011}


IN trying to delve into the activities of the producers of Ogogoro, it became a task to travel to Ikpe axis of Orhionmwon River Bank. Ikpe a small settlement along Benin Abraka Road reminds me much about the problem associated with a settlement devoid of basic infrastructure of portable clean water, electricity and portable toilets.

It has a population of about five hundred inhabitants mainly Ijaws and Urhobo nomadic fishermen and women. But unfortunately, a nomadic school is consciously absent for their siblings to acquire basic education.

Ikpe is about thirty minutes drive from Benin City through the rehabilated road which is under construction from Benin City to Abraka by the Federal Ministry of Works. Here antiquity have completely over ride modernity in this era of sky scrappers.

Amongst the thatch houses which are built on top of water are scattered by the river banks, also raffia palm trees and its relative the great palm three growing wild.

Spirits, “Ogogoro” production and small scale fishing are the main occupation of the nomadic community. The river in this place is the foundation of all other activities. Albeit their mode of worship is not very glaring, Olokun shrines is very visible. Traditional religious worshippers of Olokun from Benin City do pay homage to the custodian of this shrines before putting gifts of Olokun into the river.

Despite its natural outlook, Ikpe has a rich social and political system that could enhance a modern democratic structure. At the political head of Ikpe and other communities in the area is Okao who is the custodian of the area on behalf of the Benin Monarch.

Ikpe is variously under-developed when compared to other villages and hamlets in Edo State because it lacks the basic amenities of electricity, pipe borne water and toilet facilities. So, they do defacate into the river water in their backyard thereby posing serious health hazards to the consumers of raw water in the communities settling along the river bank.

The commercial activities here revolves around the production of spirits “Ogogoro” and palm wine. Patronage of this drunks is directly from Benin City.

A respondent who will like to remain anonymous said; “the producers of this local gin usually add soda soap to a drum of palmwine in a blazing heat of fire wood.

Consequently, the product becomes blended with the chemical used in the production of soda soap. He went further to say; “if you purchase beef meat, just pure “Ogogoro” on it and watch the reaction, it will appear as if he meat had been cooked, it is in the same way it destroys all organs in human body.

Spirit, “Ogogoro” is capable of producing social outcast, loss of job, family problems especially divorce, criminal offences like stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and rape, prostitution, suicide, accident, delinquent acts and destitution.

In a scenario that is very fresh in my memory was Mr. Osazemwinde stone who after going out with some friends on Christmas eve for serious “Ogogoro” boozing, urinated and passed feaces in his pants on his way home he decided to visit a compeer to watch video films before retiring to bed.

As he entered his friends apartment the odour emanating form his body was so strong that the visitors raised an alarm. “hum-hum, hum- hum” one of the visitors stoop up and said; this man rocks of alcohol and smells hog. He had no choice than to leave the apartment immediately in order to avoid any further harassment. At the end of the day he discovered that he had slept with faeces on his pants.

Consequently, he vowed never to be drunk again.

“Ogogoro” certainly is a social economic problems bedeviling the nation from Maiduguri to Lagos and Kano to Calabar. Consumption of this gin is replace with its abundant negative consequences both on the individual and society.

The alcoholic is not only a liability unto himself and family, but to the nation which suffers a minus in its productive incapacity. Not only that since the sanity of a nation is assessed by its people destitute milling our street with traces of abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Another aspect is when there is economic recession with its attendant indices of joblessness, under utilization of available factors of production. Low capacity utilization of human resources, materialism, etc, produce the best of alcoholics since accruable hopelessness by the citizens translator into fathomable places of accruable hopelessness by the citizens translate into fathomable places of escapism.

And this situation is unfortunate.
In what ever way one looks at it, alcoholic son which usually produces an alcoholic, a pitiable victim of habitual addictive drunk is of no health advantage to the consumers and the community.

For instance it is on record that alcoholism gives negative physical social and psychological problems to excessive consumers.

Excessive alcohol consumption is capable of providing irreversible body destruction such impairment of the brain, liver and kidney, vitamin deficiencies, neurological rapture, etc. Over use of “Ogogoro” effect the liver ability to process fat and is definitely responsible for liver cirrhosis.

An alcoholic is a slave to the substance continuous dependence on it craves further thirst which transposes into a cyclonic process. It creates an unnecessary anxiety hallunicination, depression, personality disintegration impairment of co-ordination, loss of memory reflexes distortion of judgement, exhaustion, coma, heart failure and even death.

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