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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

World No Tobacco Day: ERA wants tobacco bill signed

As the World marks the 2012 “World No Tobacco Day” on Thursday, the Environment Rights Action has called on the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, to intervene and ensure the signing of the National Tobacco Control Bill.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos on Monday, the Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration ERA/FOEN, Mr. Akinbode Olufemi, said delay by the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to give his assent to the bill could lead to an epidemic of tobacco-smoking related diseases.
Also, in his presentation titled, “Promoting Public Health through legislation: Pushing the National Tobacco Control Bill, a former senator, Dr. Olorunnmibe Mamora, who sponsored the bill that was passed by the Senate last year, said the bill which seeks to prevent smoking in public spaces, smoking by minors and under-aged persons and pictorial advertisements of tobacco products, if passed into law, would reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria.
Mamora urged the President and the minister to investigate the present status of the bill as it was their responsibility to protect Nigerians.
” Government has a duty to protect the welfare and the health of the people. It is a public health bill that would reduce diseases from tobacco smoking which has attained the status of a weapon of mass destruction.
” We should know where the bill is by now as it has been passed by both the Senate and the National Assembly. It is our right not a privilege to know whether the President has received it or not. Nigeria signed a global health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, in 2004 and it must domesticate it. There must be transparency in issues of governance,” he stated.
Also, the Executive Director, ERA/FOEN, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, called on the minister to save the bill from the delay antics and lobbying of players in the tobacco industry.
Bassey said, “After the overwhelming support the bill received in the Senate and the House of Representatives, it is sad that till date, it has not been signed by the President. The intervention of the Health Minister is a singular action that generations of Nigerians will not forget. Giving Nigerians this gift as we mark the 2012 World No Tobacco Day will be remarkable.”