WNTD2020: Protect Nigerian youth from tobacco harms by enforcing NTC Act and its Regulations – Groups Urge FG
On the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day 2020 commemoration, tobacco control groups in Nigeria have asked the federal government to commit more strongly to enforcing the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and its Regulations by the immediate enforcement of provisions that protect the youth from tobacco and its harms.
The groups – Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) seized the opportunity to re-echo public health experts demand that the government immediately enforce the ban on sale of cigarettes to and by minors, ban on sale of cigarettes in single sticks and introduction of the approved Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) on tobacco packs.
In a statement issued in Lagos, the groups said that the theme of the WNTD 2020 commemoration. “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use” is very relevant to the Nigeria context in view of the tobacco industry’s unrelenting efforts at grabbing the lungs of the youth and recruiting them as replacement smokers for a dying generation of older smokers.
The WNTD is marked on May 31 each year to nudge Parties to the World Health Organisation – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) to assess their achievements and progress made throughout the year towards a tobacco-free world. This year’s theme: “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use” urges Parties to do more to protect the younger generation in view of the tobacco industry’s increasingly targeting of young people as an emerging and vulnerable market for its addictive and deadly products.
ERA/FoEN’s Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “The theme of the year 2020 WNTD should be a wake-up call to governments around the world, and particularly the Nigeria government, that they must act decisively because our youth are now an endangered species”
Oluwafemi explained that statistics show that 17% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 smoke worldwide, even as he warned that the figures in low and middle income countries like Nigeria are set to spike as the tobacco industry exploits the poor enforcement of tobacco control laws to deepen their reach to this vulnerable group.
“Aside the availability of traditional tobacco products on demand, the social media space which the youth dominate, has also been encroached upon by the tobacco industry to promote their so-called novel products that have been responsible for disturbing death rates across the globe”.
NTCA Programme Coordinator, Oluseun Esan said: “The World Health Organization’s message is clear on the need for governments to intervene to build resilience among the next generation of young people against tobacco and to move steadily towards a tobacco-free future. Fortunately, the protections that the Nigeria youth need to dodge the booby traps of the tobacco industry are enshrined in our tobacco control law. It is now left for the Nigeria government to enforce them”
“As the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic bites harder, the tobacco industry has equally heightened its image laundering and marketing of its harmful products to the youth in subtle ways. The youth must now reject their lethal products and it is the responsibility of our government to help make this happen”
He re-echoed the WHO position that the tobacco industry is well aware that a person who starts smoking before their early 20s is not only more likely to develop an addiction but may also have an impaired ability to exercise control over smoking later in life.
The groups stressed that while the federal government must be commended for the recently gazetted National Tobacco Control Regulations, delay in enforcing the law is now being exploited by the tobacco industry which has become very active in youth spaces.
“Now more than any other time is the time
BUA SUGAR REFINERY LATEST: TRADE & INDUSTRIES MINISTER ADEBAYO REVERSES EARLIER DIRECTIVE ON SUGAR IMPORTATION FROM FREE TRADE ZONES INTO NIGERIA
Days after, sending out an earlier letter to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed prohibition the importation of sugar from free trade zones, in Nigeria, the Minister of Trade Industries and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo has backtracked and reversed himself.
Adebayo, acting on a controversial petition written to him by the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote and Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, Mr John Coumatros had written a letter which he copied the Managing Director Nigeria Ports Authority, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation prohibiting the importation of sugar from the country’s Free Trade Zones. This move was targeted at BUA sugar refinery as well as investments.
Recall that BUA Group Chairman, Samad Rabiu had reacted to the petition by revealing that his investments in sugar, especially the Port Harcourt project did not pose any threat to the country’s sugar policy. According to Samad Rabiu, his was project indeed, meant to checkmate arbitrary increase in prices and which will ultimately benefit the ordinary Nigerian on the street.
Curiously, some agencies of the Federal Government especially the NPA, had acted on the Minister’s directive by directing all Terminal operators to ensure strict compliance with the Minister’s order, despite a court injunction refraining not only the Ministry but all government agencies from disturbing it’s operations pending the determination of a suit filed by BUA group.
The move to disrupt BUA’s activities depsite the injunction clearly embarrassed the government, hence Adebayo’s quick reversal of his earlier stance and letter to the Finance Minister directing that the action be stopped.
As for Hadiza Bala Usman who was in a hurry to overlook the court order, she has since been suspended from office as the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority while an Acting CEO has been appointed in person of Mohammed Koko, the erstwhile Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
THE COMPLICITY OF NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER IN CORRUPTION AND BANDITRY IN ZAMFARA STATE
During the 8-year reign of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State , there is hardly a week the state is not in the news for either killings of scores of Zamfarans or kidnapping of them in large numbers. So bad it was during his tenure that the only presence of security is the escort services provided by security agents for workers on Yari’s farm.
It is despicable and rather unfortunate that a man who is battling to clear his name from many allegations of fraud and unprecedented corruption in Zamfara is seen flying around in a Nigerian Airforce Jet.
Mungono’s lackluster performance to rejig the security architecture which has led to breakdown of law and order has portrayed the Presidency in bad light as failing in its duty to provide security and welfare of its citizenry.
The approval of the use of NAF jet by Abdulaziz Yari which allegedly came from the office of the National Security Adviser further lent credence to the claims among Nigerians that the APC-led government is not serious about fighting corruption and insecurity.
Assuming without conceding that Yari facilitated the use of the aircraft on his own, one wonders an emergency situation that would warrant a former governor enjoying such luxury even when the allegations of corrupt enrichment is still hanging on his neck.
The National Security Adviser has yet again confirm the call for his removal over incompetence and that the reason for his call and advise for the declaration for a “No fly Zone” in Zamfara is unprofessional, partisan and may not be to secure the country as he would want people to believe.
By Hamid Shinkafi
Public affair analyst
Rural Resident Expresses Satisfaction On Jumia Service Delivery
At the current pace, there’s no denying the improved fortune of eCommerce in Africa. Even the most ardent doubters of eCommerce viability on the continent will accept that the online shopping business is gaining momentum on the continent, contrary to their forecast and expectations.
Major African markets like Nigeria and Kenya are improving their internet penetration while the number of mobile phone users is rising exponentially. This, in turn, is boosting the online market entrants in urban locations and gradually rubbing off on rural settlements.
As a result, the conversation around eCommerce in a major market like Nigeria has gravitated from doubts on feasibility and acceptance to quality of service delivery, customers expectations and satisfaction. With at least 87 e-commerce platforms in Nigeria, the online shopping community is increasing by the day with innovation and bespoke approaches to address the challenges of the market and meet customers expectations.
In the thick of this, some customers are already having a glimpse of what eCommerce offers at its peak, thanks to the effort of key market players. Iteshi Prince Izuchukwu, a businessman based in Rivers State said he likes shopping online because of the price slash. Based on his experience with several online shopping platforms, he was quick to acknowledge the extra effort of Africa’s market leader on its quality of service delivery. “Things I order include Television, Wristwatches and others. When I buy these items on Jumia, they deliver on time and in good condition,” he stated.
In today’s market where customers demand value for every penny spent, a well thought out packaging that meets the aesthetic taste of the customers can spell a huge impact on the eCommerce business. It can help reduce the volume and cost of return, foster customer loyalty and put the brand in the face of prospects. “I always feel happy when what I ordered is being delivered to me. And as a businessman, I want value for money which I can say I am getting on a platform like Jumia,” Izuchukwu said.
With continuous effort by eCommerce brands to meet customers’ quality, timely and packaging expectations in their service delivery, testimonials like this will go a long way in getting more people onboard the online shopping train.
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