The People over time have been able to produce for themselves, what they need to survive in the Natural environment that they found themselves,even without much advanced training or education have been able to apply some scientific knowledge in refining and producing herbs, and local medicines, one of such products that are always available to the People either for consumption or for libation is Ogogoro which is also called Ejini , Sapele water, akpeteshie (especially in Ghana), Kparaga, kai-kai, Sun gbalaja, Egun inu igo meaning The Masquerade in the Bottle , push-me-push-you, and/or crim-kena, sonsé (“do you do it?” in Yoruba language). ufofob [Calabar], robirobi [Abeokuta], baba erin [Ilesha], eyinbo gò (white man is not smarter), majidun, etonto [Pidgin English], wuru [Ijaw], Udi Ogagan and Agbakara [Benin] and Aka mere, Agbagba [Urhobo], as well OHMS (Our Home Made Stuff), Iced Water, Push Me, I Push You and Craze man in the bottle, and much more in different local languages.
Ejini is usually distilled locally from fermented Raphia palm tree juice
A lot of the local People take it early in the morning to awaken the body system to the daily activities, or to warm up the body during cold or hamattan period, most time ejini which is put in a bottle is not always taken alone, some natural roots, herbs, or leaves are also added to increase the efficacy and usefulness to the local People. Ejini is always used during local festivals, functions, occasions, coronations, libation ,etc.
How is ejini refined or produced?
The process of making ogogoro is simple and illegal . The main process in the making of ejini which its name in English language is palm sap has to do with climbing a specie of palm tree called Raphia palm , an incision is made in the trunk and a gourd placed outside it for collection, which is collected a day or two later.
A bucket is then filled with palm sap and drowned fruit flies. After extracting the sap, the Refiner replaces the full bucket with an empty one and climbs down the tree.
The extracted sap is first mixed with sugar and left to ferment for days in sealed barrels or rusted oil drums , the rusted oil drums are then placed over a hot fire and the fermented alcohol poured in and boiled to form steam.The next stage is to allow the alcohol evaporate and then allowed to condense by passing it down small pipes through a vat of cold water then it drips out into a container, where it is now refined as egini,ogogoro or kai kaiand is collected for consumption
The active ingredient in ogogoro is ethanol, whose concentration within the drink is very high; the alcohol content of local ogogoro ranges between 30-60%. Coupled with the fact that it is often home-brewed by amateurs, the drink can be extremely dangerous. Indeed, it is said that hundreds die every year from improperly brewed ogogoro or other such drinks
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has banned the consumption of ejini. The FG was forced to ban the local gin after reports surfaced of the deaths of quite a number of people after consuming the alcoholic drink a certain time.
Long before now, throughout Nigeria (and even beyond to other West African countries), ogogoro has been a hugely-consumed drink. In fact, it is many people’s favourite alcoholic beverage.
Besides this, it carries both cultural and economic significance in virtually all parts of the country; and is an essential part of many a religious and social ceremonies.
For instance, Ijaw and Obolo priests pour it on the ground as offering to their gods and Ancestors during coronations festivals, etc while in many traditions, fathers of brides use it as a libation with which to pronounce their blessing on a union.
These are at the brink of extinction as consequent upon scores of deaths recorded in Ondo and Rivers states, the Federal Government, on Monday, June 8, 2015, banned the consumption of the local spirit in all parts of the country.
As earlier highlighted, the decision is consequent upon deaths in Rivers and Ondo states due to food poisoning allegedly caused by the consumption of the beverage. In Rivers, the death rose to 38, while the number of deaths in Ode-Irene, Ondo state following the consumption of the gin was pegged at 18.
The Director General of the National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, addressing journalists on the development confirmed that the deaths were associated with the consumption of locally made gin.
According to him, in the face of the recent sad happenings, it had become imperative to warn the public to desist from the consumption of unregistered locally made spirits and other unregistered bitters.
Distillers of this favourite drink have in an effort to hopefully get the decision reversed, defended the production of the spirit, noting that the local gin they make neither harms nor kills; and that in fact, it has medicinal capabilities when mixed with certain roots