From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA says anybody caught smoking in public places in Lagos State will be arrested and prosecuted from 17th of August.
General Manager, LASEPA, Engr. Rasheed Shabi, at a news conference in Lagos, said enforcement would begin on August 17, 2014, reiterating that government did not ban smoking in Lagos, but banned smokers from smoking in public places.
He said when the smoking bill was signed into law by Governor Babatunde Fashola on 17 February, 2014, six months grace was given to enable proper sensitization to be carried out before enforcement.
According to him, with the passage of the law, smokers have been banned from smoking in places, such as hospitals, eateries, hotels, schools, crèche, restaurants, bars, school buses, event centres and bookshops.
“We have engaged hoteliers and told them not to create a place where smokers can smoke and such places must be ventilated. Industries, event centres and others should carve out specific places where smokers can smoke but not in public places.
“We are the agency that will implement this law and enforcement will start on 17 August. Our staff will go round to ensure that people comply with this law by not smoking in public places. We are up to the task and if there is need for more staff, we will request for such,” he added.
According to Shabi, the agency would flag off its sensitization campaign tomorrow at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium and expected that between 3,000 and 4,000 stakeholders would attend the event, saying that “sensitization is the first step to educate the people.”
“We will unveil the non-smoking signs that will be put in public places to stop people from smoking in such places and we will be doing this sensitization in collaboration with the British Tobacco Company,” he added.