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Thursday, December 1, 2011

It’s sad the Bill isn’t law yet, say environmentalists

The  Environmental Rights Action (ERA), yesterday said it was sad that the the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) is yet to be signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan six months after the National Assembly passed it.
Its Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said there is the likelihood the Bill may not have gotten to the President’s desk for signature.
Oluwafemi, who spoke yesterday at a press briefing in Lagos, said President Jonathan would be mandated within 30 days to either sign the Bill into law or return it to the National Assembly with cogent reasons why it was rejected. He said the counting would start from the day it got to his table. “When it is returned by the President, if that is the case, two-third majority of the National Assembly can veto it to become a law,” he added.
He said the hopes of many Nigerians who had expected the President to sign the Bill before the United Nations high-level meeting in New York on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), was dashed. “At that meeting, many heads of states and government made a commitment towards eradicating the risk factors of NCD, one of which is tobacco use,” he added.
He said the government’s action showed it was not responsive to the health of the people, thereby lacking commitment to them. “Our leaders failed to show the world that the country is ready and determined to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by providing the people with a safe and clean environment through comprehensive tobacco control legislation.
“Nigeria has failed to set a leadership role for the rest of Africa by taking preventive measures on the tobacco epidemic. It did not complete the work on the NTCB sponsored by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora,” Oluwafemi said.
He urged the Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters to the President, Senator Joy Emordi and other legislators to expedite the process of the Bill and forward it to the President immediately.

SOURCE: via The Nation