The Nigeria Tobacco Control Research Group (NTCRG) and the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have commended the Senate for passing a resolution seeking total ban of the sale of tobacco products around schools.
The organisations in a statement by ERA/FoEN Head of Campaigns, Philip Jakpor, also lauded Senator Oluremi Tinubu who sponsored the resolution, saying she has demonstrated uncommon courage at this time that tobacco addiction is becoming an endemic problem among the youths.
The Resolution, which was adopted at the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, urged the Federal Ministries of Health, Education and Information to harmonise efforts at banning the advertisement and sales of tobacco within 100 meters of all schools in Nigeria.
The Coordinator of NTCRG Dr Akindele Adebiyi said: “We particularly applaud the bold effort of the Senate, Senator Tinubu and other co-sponsors of this resolution. It is a giant step towards protecting our children from the deliberate marketing tactics of the tobacco companies aimed at luring our children to smoking. We want to plead with relevant agencies to put in place necessary mechanisms to ensure that this Resolution is given immediate attention and enforcement.”
On his part the Deputy Executive Director ERA/FoEN Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “This is a call to action by Senator Remi Tinubu and we expect local governments, state governments and all relevant government agencies to wake up from their slumber and begin full enforcement of the National Tobacco Act and this Resolution.”
The co-sponsors of the motion along with Senator Tinubu are: Senator Magnus Abe (Rivers South-East), Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Ogun Central), Senator Binta Masi Garba (Adamawa North), Sentor Aliyu M Wamakko ( Sokoto North).
While presenting the resolution, Senator Tinubu expressed worries that there is deliberate ploy by Tobacco Companies to position tobacco products, tobacco adverts and signs within 100m perimeter of schools to stimulate the interest of children and youth in the use of tobacco products.
She cited a recent survey carried out by NTCRG and ERA/FoEN across four (4) geo-political zones. The survey titled: ‘Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets: Tobacco Companies Targeting of School Children in Nigeria’ and supported by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) was published in October 2017 which documented how tobacco products are sold at very close proximity to schools.