Ekiti state Government has called on the Federal government to give it all the requires political will to enforced the tobacco smoking in public places in Nigeria.
The call was made in Ado Ekiti on at one day capacity building programme organised by a non Governmental Organisation (NGO) New initiative for Social Development (NISD) with support from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) for security agents on enforcement and effective implementation of Ekiti State smoke-free law, with the primary objective to create public awareness on Ekiti prohibition of smoking in public places for effective implementation.
Speaking at the programme, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Emvironment who was represented by the Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation, Mr. Tunde Balogun said lack of political will on the part of the Federal government to thoroughly enforce the public smoking prohibition law has been handicapping the state government from thoroughly implementing and enforcing it.
He explained that despite the existence of the prohibition law, it has become pratically impossible for the security men to arrest and prosecute any offender because both the state and federal governments lacks the political will to enforce it.
According to him “this measure is very important in order to prevent people from contacting the vary many deadly diseases that are associated with tobacco smoking and second class smokers, that is; those people who are not smokers but inhales the smoke”
Other objective of the programme was to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to effectively implement the law to promote and protect public health in the state.
The State Deputy commandant, Nigeria Civil Defence Commission (NCDC), Mr Afred Odeyemi urged the governments to set up a tobacco prohibition task force and monitoring team to effect the enforcement of what he called a total war against public smoking, with members to include; civil defence, police, prisons officials, the health parsonnel, and other stakeholder agency or group.
He also urged the government to place multiple taxation on tobacco producing industries, saying this measure will also reduce circulation of the products in public places.
Earlier, the Director, NISD, Mr. Abiodun Oyeleye said if the government can take the enforcement of tobacco smoking prohibition in public places serious by attaching monetary fines to it against any offender caught by the secutity agencies, it will not only go a long way in eradicating smoking in public places, but will also increase the IGR of the government.