Operatives of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on Friday, raided Jabi Park and Wuse Central market in Abuja in what they described as on going nationwide mop up action to sanitise Nigerian markets and rid them of elements selling cigarette and other tobacco products in single sticks to consumers especially minors.
The operation to arrest people selling and also seize tobacco products displayed for sale in single sticks in the two public places began around 11am when several vehicles with CPC operatives, security personnel and journalists made their way into the park and market.
Speaking with journalists during the operation, Ayough Moses from Surveillance and Enforcement Department of CPC, and leader of the team, maintained that CPC was only carrying out its routine responsibility of mopping up and sensitising sellers and the entire public of the danger of sale of tobacco products in such manner.
According to him, “After intensive surveillance, we felt like going out to warn sellers of cigarettes in single sticks and minors. We also went out to shisha bars because shisha is banned too. It is about safeguarding the health of Nigerians because of tobacco harms.”
It is part of Consumer Protection Council’s (CPC) mandate to ensure that what is on sale even inside the markets should follow approved legal procedures.
Reacting to the CPC’s recent raid, the deputy executive director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends Of The Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Bode Oluwafemi, in a telephone interview, congratulated the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) for the feat and promised to monitor the progress going forward.
“We are very happy that an agency of government in our country is living up to her constitutional mandate of making sure that laws in our country are obeyed. We congratulate CPC on that feat. We will continue to monitor the progress CPC is making in this regard going forward. “
On the penalty for offenders, Ayough Moses said it should have been outright seizure and destruction but the agency decided to first warn and sensitise sellers of cigarettes in single sticks and minors, of the danger inherent in their action but insisted the operatives won’t disclose the final punishment for offenders next time.