The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria on Sunday stated that the passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill by the Senate was being stalled by the absence of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.
The bill which, according to the group, was sponsored by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora from Lagos State, was scheduled to be presented for third reading last Thursday but was stood down due to the absence of Obasanjo-Bello.
The bill has been in the Senate since 2008 and is a comprehensive law that will regulate the manufacture, sales, distribution and marketing of tobacco products in Nigeria.
A statement by ERA/FoEN’s Director (Corporate Accountability and Administration), Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, said it was disturbing that the bill had suffered another setback. The group urged the Senate to give it proper treatment.
He said it was a comprehensive law that would save the lives of millions of Nigerians, if passed.
Oluwafemi said, “We find it disturbing that the National Tobacco Control Bill should suffer this setback again. We think the Senate should accord the bill the importance it deserves. It is a comprehensive law that is designed to save millions of lives now and in the future.
“The tobacco control bill is a bill for the next generation and it should be treated with the utmost importance that it deserves. We are sad that once again, we seem to have missed a very important opportunity.”
Oluwafemi, however, praised the efforts made on the bill so far adding. “We salute the courage of the members of Senate who have worked on the bill in the last two years, we commend the maturity displayed by members of the health committee and especially the Senate President, David Mark, for his support. We hope the Senate will continue deliberations on the bill at the earliest opportunity.”