By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Environment Right /Friends of the Earth( (ERA/FoEN)and the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA)has tasked the Senate President of National Assembly Sen.Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon.Yakubu Dogara for the speedy approval and passing of Tobacco Control Regulation as a legacy achievement of the 8th National Assembly.
The called was made yesterday during a walk to the national assembly by ERA and NTCA demanding for the approval of NTC Regulations yesterday in Abuja .
A statement jointly signed by Deputy Executive Director ERA/FoEN , Akinbode Oluwafemi and Programme Coordinator NTCA, Oluwasenu Esan
Said “we are worried that while serveral African countries are making progress ,in enacting Framwork Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) compliant laws ,Nigeria is lagging behind in enacting strong policies to rein in rising tobacco use in the country including the influx of heat not burn and serveral other tobacco products”.
Delivering the draft to the senate president and speaker of NASS ,ERA /NTCA said that “we strongly
believe that the Draft Regulation currently awaiting at National Assembly represent a unique opportunity for Nigeria to give the needed impetus for the smooth enforcement of its National Tobacco Act 2015.
The statement further explained that “we are aware that the current sessions of the National Assembly will be ending on June 6, thereby necessitating that the national assembly needs to approve the draft regulations within weeks .
The statement pointing out that tobacco industry will embark on both overt and covert activities targeted at derailing the passage of this important public health regulations also remainded the members of the NASS that Nigeria as a signatory to FCTC is bound by the convention’s article 5.3 to place public health and tobacco control above the commercial interests of the tobacco companies and their allies .
The statement maintained that at this critical time ,we called on the leadership and members of the NASS to resist attempts by tobacco corporations and their allies to water down the provision of the regulations and ensure its speedy passage . Nigerians will count this as a legacy achievement of the current leadership and members of NASS.
The NTCA and ERA are Nigerian public health, environmental , tobacco control , economic and social justice non-governmental organisation concerned about rising smoking rate and consequently health and economic impact in the country.