Search This Blog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Environmental activists task Jonathan, legislators on tobacco bill

THERE are fears that the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) passed by the sixth session of the National Assembly (NA) about six months ago might have been swept under the carpet and might never by assented into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Environmental activists in the country expressed this fear, alleging breach of constitutional duty, which mandates that a bill passed by the two houses of NA be sent to the President, who should “within 30 days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent (with reasons)” to the bill that is presented.
The activists under the aegis of Environmental Rights Actions/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said that nothing was yet to be communicated by the Presidency to the parliament on the NTCB, like several other bills passed at the twilight of the last assembly.
They therefore task the President to “work with the N/A to complete the process of the signing of the bill. Sign the bill immediately it is forwarded to his desk for signing and set in motion the structure and machineries to ensure the effective implementation of the bill all over Nigeria.”
Director of Corporate Accountability and Administration, ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi also called on the N/A; Special Adviser on N/A to the President, Senator Joy Emordi and every other official of the N/A to expedite the process of the bill and forward it to the President.
Oluwafemi said that Nigeria has till date failed to set a leadership role for the rest of Africa by taking preventive measures on the tobacco epidemic, safe environment through comprehensive tobacco control legislation.
The tobacco control bill seeks to regulate the manufacturing, sales and marketing of tobacco products in the country. The bill has measures that will tackle youth smoking, prohibition of the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 among other provisions.
Oluwafemi added: “Our nation is at that crossroad where we have to make a decision whether to complete the processes for the enactment of laws that would protect the present and the future generations from harms caused by multinational whose sole motive is profit and death through the use of tobacco.”
Programme Officer, ERA, Seun Akioye added that the consequence of inaction is already with Nigeria, as the country already adds to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 5.8 million estimate of people that die each year due to a tobacco related disease.
“According to figures from a 2006 survey conducted in 11 hospitals in Lagos, two persons die each day from a tobacco-related disease.
Our government can however step up this challenge and enact a law that will protect the young, the poor and those who have been deceived into tobacco addiction by the tobacco multinationals glamorous tobacco advertising. This bill is for today, tomorrow and the future. This bill is for our children and us, “ he said,
By Wole Oyebade via  GUARDIAN