In its bid to eradicate the illicit trade of tobacco in the world, the World Health Organisation has advised the Federal Government to act quickly in approving the anti-tobacco law.
Speaking at an event organised by the UN Information Centre, the Nigerian Heart Foundation and the UN Association of Nigeria, the Lagos WHO coordinator, Dr. Sunday Abidoye said it was not enough for Nigeria to only sign the protocol, but instead work towards ratifying the protocol.
Abidoye said the international community came together with a protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products, having recognised the enormity of illicit trade in tobacco products.
However, “only 14 countries in the African region have signed the protocol and just two have ratified it to date” he said.
He therefore urged the Nigerian government to urgently join other African countries that have ratified the protocol in their countries.
He added that Nigeria’s domestication of the protocol would protect her from financial, legal, social and health consequences associated with the illicit trade.
In a message presented on his behalf by UNIC Administrative Assistant, Ms Adeola Adedeji, UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said the trade was luring younger and poorer groups into addiction.
He further said the illicit trade had continued to deplete the ability of states to charge taxes that would have supported health services.
Also speaking at the event, Director of Tobacco in the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Mr. Dapo Rotifa, said Nigeria should take advantage of Anti-Tobacco Bill signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan, even as there was a call for a ban on tobacco advertisement across the country.
40 students from three secondary schools in Lagos State attended the event.