The National Tobacco Control Bill, which was formally presented to the senate in 2009 was finally approved by the Senate for passage at its seating on Tuesday March 15th 2011, twenty five (25) months after its initial presentation to the Senate.
Without a doubt, this is a monumental victory for Nigerians, both young and old, especially minors, public health, tobacco control in Nigeria and for the Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), which was instrumental to the initiation, creation, drafting, lobbying and followed through of this bill from the various plenary sessions debating the bill, to the public hearing and eventual approval for passage.
It is important to highlight the support that CAT received in the course of promoting this bill and at the two day public hearing defending the bill at the Senate in July 2009. Cats’ trustee, Hajiya Maryam Uwais, renowned Professor of Law,’ Yemi Osinbajo, SAN and Babatunde Irukera were all visible and vehement in their defense of the tobacco bill at the said Public hearing. WHO and CAT Honoree, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar (Former FCT Minister) was also present at the public hearing to support CAT and enumerated his experience, in the course of implementing the declaration of a Smoke free FCT.
CAT’s January 2008 Abuja inauguration, served as the platform for Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar (then Minister of the FCT) to announce the declaration making the FCT smoke-free, effective June 2008. He, at the event also sought the support and cooperation of the legislative arm of government, which was represented at the event by Senator Mamora (Sponsor of the tobacco bill and current Deputy Chief whip of the Senate) to enact and push for an effective bill regulating the tobacco industry’s’ excesses. Senator Mamora gave his assurances for the expedient passage of the bill, which we are today celebrating.
Professor Jibril Aminu (A member of the Senate Committee on health and respected former Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria), who is a former smoker himself, also supported the bill in no small way, the good professor identified that it was very imperative for the distinguished Senators to pass the bill and ensure its implementation because of its importance to the public health in Nigeria.
CAT finally wishes to celebrate and salute the courage, tenacity and sheer doggedness of the promoter of the National Tobacco Control Bill, Senator Olorunnimbe Adeleke Mamora, who worked tirelessly, despite daunting opposition to ensure that the passage of the tobacco control bill becomes reality.
ON BEHALF OF THE COALITION AGAINST TOBACCO (CAT)