Around 900,000 people die of tobacco-related illnesses in India each year/Photo: AFP
Tobacco smoker Photo: AFP

By Ige Olugbenga

The federal government has said it is going on with the implementation of the National Tobacco Act (NTC) 2015 it signed into law recently.

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The director-general of Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria (CPC), Babatunde Irukera made the comment on Tuesday in Abuja when he received the delegation of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) in his office.

The delegation was led by the chairman governing board of NTCA and deputy director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) Akinbode Oluwafemi and the sub-regional coordinator (West Africa) of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Hilda Ochefu.

“As an agency of the federal government, we have the responsibility of protecting the citizens from what they are exposed to through purchase or otherwise. The CPC is committed to implementing all government laws that concerned it including the NTC 2015,” Irukera said.

Speaking earlier, Akinbode Oluwafemi said the DG’s appointment may not be unconnected to his role as counsel to Lagos government in the suit against tobacco transnationals in 2007.

“Nothing has changed since then as the tobacco industry has recalibrated and now targeting women and children in a renewed effort to get replacement smokers.

“The National Tobacco Control Act thus presents an opportunity to protect millions of Nigerians from tobacco addiction and its health, social, economic and environmental impacts,” he said.

Ochefu on her part said some of the new developments in the tobacco industry strategy including British America Tobacco Company intimidatory tactics and litigation against Nigeria and some other countries in Africa that plan to implement tobacco laws.

She therefore among others urged the CPC to champion the cause of smoke-free Nigeria and adopt tobacco control as one of the key areas for intervention to save Nigerians from the scourge of tobacco.