ERA TACKLES LAWMAKER OVER TOBACCO BILL
A non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth, has described as misleading a comment credited to Senator Kamarudeen Adedibu that the passage of the National Tobacco Control bill would jeopardise over 600,000 jobs attached to the tobacco industry.
Reacting in a statement issued by its Media officer, Mr. Seun Akioye, the group's Programme Manager, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the senator had by the comment aligned himself with the tobacco industry, to the detriment of public health.
According to the statement, 'He said the bill, if passed, would result in the loss of about 600,000 jobs. This suggestion is as laughable as it is ridiculous. For the records, let me state that nowhere is the tobacco industry employing people near the figure being branded by the senator.
'On its website and at the public hearing, the British American Tobacco Nigeria has acknowledged that it employs less than 1000 people in direct employment; and indirectly, including the kiosk operators, PR agents, distributors, youth organisers, youth marketers etc about 3,000 people. Where did the senator get his figures from?'
He further stated that Adedibu, representing Oyo South, also claimed that the bill was dead, stressing that the declaration was untrue for the proposed piece of legislation had passed second reading.
He said, ''Contrary to the statements credited to the senator, the National Tobacco Control bill is not dead. The bill scaled through second reading in the Senate in February 2009; and at that reading, all the senators who spoke expressed strong support for the bill.'