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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Group demands Jonathan’s assent on tobacco bill

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to use this year’s commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31, to sign the recently passed National Tobacco Control Bill into law.In a statement issued in Lagos and signed by ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the group also asked the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu to take the lead in the processes that will ensure that the bill becomes law.

The group said: “Countries all over the world have made specific and strategic efforts to combat the dangers of smoking especially among the youths by putting laws in place to regulate the production and marketing of tobacco products. The enactment of national laws and the domestication of the World Health’s Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are singular efforts in this direction.

“Nigeria has made gi-ant strides in fulfilling our international obligations by attempting to domesticate the FCTC through the National Tobacco Control Bill, but we are afraid these gains that we have worked for as civil society organisations, legislators and the Ministry of Health will be reversed if the President does not sign this bill to commemorate this year’s WNTD.”

He explained that the theme for this year’s event: “Preventing Industry Inter-ference in Tobacco Control policies,” is very instruc-tive because Nigerians are worried that the bill which was passed with over-whelming public support is yet to be signed into law by the President.