Nigeria News
Harmonize tobacco bill with global convention, Senate urged

As the Public Hearing on the National Tobacco Control Bill, NTCB, begin in Abuja, a coalition of civil society groups have called on the Senate to ensure that the Bill is in harmony with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO-FCTC, which Nigeria signed in 2004 and ratified in 2005.

The coalition comprises the Environmental Rights Action, ERA; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC; and the National Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA.

In a statement, the coalition said a tobacco control bill that is in harmony with the FCTC would not only promote public health, but also be fulfilling Nigeria’s obligation under the FCTC.

ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “The public hearing on the National Tobacco Control Bill is a welcome development and presents another opportu-nity for our lawmakers in the Senate to side with the people by ensuring that the bill is in tandem with the FCTC, which is  the first global health treaty.

”The Senate must stand firm in the face of growing misinterpretation of the tobacco control bill by agents of the tobacco industry.

“It must remain vigilant and resist the deceptions and lies of the tobacco industry and their front groups.”

Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, added: “The public hearing is coming at a time that the health burden instigated by tobacco products has started assuming alarming proportions. Nothing short of effective regulation of the manufacture, sale and distribution of such lethal products is needed now.”

In the same vein, Interim Chair of NTCA, Dr. Lanre Oginni, stressed the importance of ensuring that key provisions of the bill were strengthened.

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