Anti-tobacco Law: CISLAC Engages Gombe Line Ministries Over DomesticationACTA
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has met with some line Ministries in Gombe State to advocate on the need for the domestication of the anti-tobacco law in the State.
The ministries visited are, the State Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources; the State Ministry of Health and the State Ministry of Justice.
Solomon Adoga, Senior Programme Officer, CISLAC, during the visits, stressed the important roles the ministries would play in ensuring that the law is domesticated in the State and rid it of the public health challenges that tobacco has caused society.
He tasked the Permanent Secretaries of all the three ministries to take the lead in seeing that the policy or bill on the prohibition of smoking cigarettes in public among others, comes to reality so as to improve on the public health of the citizenry.
He said the World Health Organization has alerted that tobacco has remained one of the single causes of most deaths globally, stressing that there is therefore a great need to discourage it’s use by the populace, especially the youth.
Among the measures in the bill that seek to discourage the usage of tobacco are, placing stringent taxation on tobacco products, especially cigarettes, banning cigarette smoking in public, strict advertising regulations for cigarettes and other tobacco products among many others.
He called for collaboration between the ministries in taking the lead in ensuring the domestication of the bill in Gombe State while assuring that CISLAC will provide all the necessary push to ensure that the law comes to reality
In their various responses, the Permanent Secretaries of the ministries thanked CISLAC for their intervention promising to partner with it for the betterment of the public health of the State.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, Alhaji Hassan Abubakar, assured of beginning the process of domestication by reviewing the law to suit their environment, consulting the Ministry of Justice and working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, stressing the need for massive enlightenment and sensitization of the public.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mohammed Ibrahim Jallo, promised to constitute a committee to study the document ( draft bill), assuring that the Ministry’s doors will remain open for such collaboration aimed at helping the State.
He assured that the law, if implemented, will seriously help Gombe State as it will be a win-win for it considering the issue of taxation.
For the State Ministry of Justice, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Mr. Musa Saidu, revealed that the State had many years ago, sued seven tobacco companies over the public menace it had caused in the State.
The suit which was instituted in 2007, is currently at the Supreme Court even though the State had won in the lower courts.
While expressing happiness that CISLAC has come over to help the State, Mr. Musa assured that this time around, the Ministry will make a harder push for the domestication of the anti-tobacco law in Gombe State.
The Gombe State Ministry of Finance as well as the Gombe State House of Assembly are other important institutions that CISLAC targets for another round of advocacy to help the State join the few States that have already domesticated the anti-tobacco law in Nigeria.