By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) has urged the federal government to ensure that local laws that are consistent with World Health Organisation (WHO) framework are enforced by relevant organs of government.
This is even as they say it is sheer ignorance to blame industry operators for non-implementation.
In a statement yesterday, the executive director, IPPA, Thompson Ayodele explained that with Nigeria being a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the government should champion the perceived concerns relating to production and marketing of tobacco products.
Ayodele stressed that health concerns of Nigerians should not be treated with a kid-glove, adding that every responsible government will want its population to be healthy.
“Banning a legal product has its unintended consequences because people will explore other avenues to get the same products no matter how illegal. This will pose a significant threat to Nigeria’s development not just in terms of loss of revenue that legitimate businesses pay; the activities of smugglers could further exacerbate the complex security challenge in Nigeria and further increase criminals’ nefarious activities.
“We are all living witnesses to when a ban was placed on the importation of rice which lead to the increase in smugglers’ activities. Rather than resorting to name calling, groups opposed to the tobacco industry should come up with evidence based solutions not merely engaging in arguments based on emotions and fear-factors, or parroting what their funders intended,” he said.