NTCA to National Assembly: Approve draft national tobacco control regulation before end of tenure

By Valentine Amanze

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), a network of civil society groups, has appealed to the 8th National Assembly to ensure a speedy approval of the draft national tobacco control regulation before the expiration of its tenure in May 29, 2019.
The group pointed out that the signing of the documment into law would provide the legal framework for the protection of present and future generations of Nigerians from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
The group’s Programme Coordinator/ Spokesperson, Oluseun Esan, while addressing the press in Lagos, on Friday March 29, 2019, urged the lawmakers to ensure the approval of the draft without further delay.
The NTCA, however, cautioned the 8th National Assembly not to water down the provisions of the draft, but rather approve it with all the clauses intact.
His words: “We use this medium to emphasize that full enforcement of the Act will only occur after the regulations are approved by the National Assembly.
“After three years, the regulation was drafted and it is presently in the NASS. There are reports that a few days ago that the committee on Delegated Legislation is calling on stakeholders to attend an interactive session on the regulation.
“We call on the Committee on Delegated Legislation in the National Assembly to consider the health, safety and future of the Nigerian people; to stand on the part of the masses against the tobacco industry, which makes profit at the expense of the health and life of the Nigerian people.
“We call on them to approve the regulation as it is, without watering down the provision. Nigeria is one of the least regulated countries in Africa when it has to do with tobacco.
“We call on the House of Representatives to speedily consider the regulation and approve it with all the clauses intact without delay. We call on the Senate of the Federal Republic to also approve the regulation once it is transmitted to them by the House of Representatives. This is the legacy that the Nigerian people expect from the 8th Assembly”.
Also, at the occasion, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the chairman, NTCA, said that the approval of the Tobacco Act by the lawmakers would send a message to tobacco corporations and indeed the global community that Nigeria is serious about ensuring the wellness of its people in line with recommendations of the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
It would be recalled, according to World Health Organization (WHO) report, that tobacco kills nearly six million people annually and, if current trends continue, it will kill more than eight million people worldwide by 2030.
A large chunk of these deaths will come from developing nations like Nigeria.

News Category: