The Environmental Rights Action (ERA) has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the National Tobacco Control Bill into law.
The group said it would do the country good as governments and public health advocates plan towards this year’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31. In a statement issued in Lagos by its Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the organisation urged Jonathan to sign the Bill to celebrate the global event.
ERA/FoEN also urged Health Minister Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu to get the president to assent to the Bill.
Oluwafemi 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 Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are singular efforts in this direction.
“Nigeria has made giant 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 organizations, legislators and the Ministry of Health will be reversed if the President does not sign this bill to commemorate this year’s WNTD.
“The theme for this year, Preventing Industry Interference in Tobacco Control policies is very instructive because Nigerians are worried that the bill which was passed with overwhelming public support is yet to be signed into law by the President. This is a bill that would have direct impact on Nigerians. It is the dividend of democracy for Nigerians.”
Akinbode said: “ The President cannot allow the tobacco industry to influence and derail his transformation agenda by providing qualitative healthcare for Nigerians. The whole world is waiting for Nigeria, the African continent is awaiting our leadership.”