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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Smokers within Aso Rock, National Assembly premises face prosecution

Written by Christian Okeke

When the bill on tobacco smoking currently with the National Assembly is passed and signed into law, people who smoke in public places, including the Aso Rock and National Assembly premises will be arrested and prosecuted.
The bill had already passed second reading in the Senate and was sponsored to facilitate the enforcement of the ban on tobacco smoking in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, placed by the regime of Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar as FCT Minister.
Answering a specific question during the special press conference to commemorate the 2010 World No Tobacco Day in Abuja, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, disclosed that the Aso Villa and the National Assembly premises were classified as public places, saying, that, “No smoking is no smoking.
Smoking in all public places is prohibited.”
The theme of this year’s event is “Gender and tobacco”, with an emphasis on marketing to women.
The minister, who was represented by the Secretary in charge of Health and Human Services Secretariat in the FCTA, Dr Precious Gbeneol, however, noted that without the law being passed, it would be impossible to enforce the no smoking ban.
He said, “It is difficult at this point to go and pick somebody smoking in the public place without any law to back your action.”
Senator Mohammed urged the federal lawmakers to facilitate the passage of the bill to ensure that enforcement of the ban was fully carried out to its logical conclusion and disclosed that some areas were soon to be marked out as no smoking zones.