29 December 2017

Nigeria: Group Seeks Enforcement of Tobacco Law

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has written to the Federal Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, asking for the inclusion of provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTC Act) in the 2018 fiscal policy and other directives.

The NTCA is a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs), and professional groups working on tobacco control, human rights and public health.

They also work on checking cancer with a view to ensuring quality health, sustainable development and good governance for all Nigerians.

NTCA is a member of the Africa Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA).

In the letter, dated December 8, 2017 and addressed to Adeosun, the network requested the enforcement of Part VI, Section 15 (5, 6, 7) of the NTC Act, which regulates the selling of smoked tobacco in an intact pack of not less than 20 sticks.

This is so that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) could investigate and confiscate non-compliant products at the borders even before they were introduced to the market.

The same section of the Act stipulates that smokeless tobacco products must be in minimum of 30 grams pack. Otherwise, it must be confiscated.

A statement by Head Media and Campaigns of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said the letter was signed by Board Chairman of NTCA who is also Deputy Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi.

"Part XI section 31 (1) enables the police and other law enforcement agencies of government (in this case the Nigeria Customs Service) to inspect and investigate complaints and take appropriate enforcement action under the act," the letter reads in part.

It noted that the enforcement of the provisions would ensure that tobacco products entering the country comply with the NTC Act, as well as ensure that the intent of the law, which would help to protect Nigerians from the dangers of tobacco use was not compromised by unscrupulous tobacco importers.

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