Smokers risk three-month jail in Ekiti
ANYONE who smokes in public in Ekiti State now risks going to jail for three months.
This followed the inauguration of the Smoke-Free Law Enforcement Committee.
The Committee, chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Bolanle Fakunle, was inaugurated yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
The Anti-Smoking Enforcement Panel was to give legal backing to the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Law passed by the House of Assembly on September 26, 2012.
It was signed by former Governor Kayode Fayemi on December 31 of the same year.
Security agencies, such as the police, civil defence corps, environmental health officers, have been empowered by law to arrest culprits and ensure their prosecution.
The advocacy was driven by a non-governmental organisation, the New Initiative for Social Development.
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Delivering his address, the Executive Director of NISD, Abiodun Oyeleye, said the tobacco epidemic has adverse impact on public health of developing countries, including Nigeria.
Oyeleye said awareness has been created among various stakeholders, such as religious and political leaders, hoteliers, drivers' unions, youths, women, senior government officials, ministries, departments and agencies.
Punishment for contravention of the law is found in Section 6. Any person who contravenes any of the provision of the law other than Section 3 shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N10,000 or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both.
A fine of N25,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both awaits any offender who contravenes any of the provision of Section 3 of the law.
The law further prescribes a punishment of N250,000 for the violation of sub-section (1) or (2) stated above, if it be a corporate offender.
Dr. Fakunle said the move was not targeted at smokers but to prevent smoking in public places to safeguard public health and protect non-smokers from inhaling cigarette fumes.
Members of the Committee are Mr. Lawrence Ojo, Permanent Secretary/Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice; Mr. P.A. Bankole of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mr. M.T.Olowolafe, president of the Environmental Task Force in all the 16 Local Government Areas and Mrs. O.O. Kayode-Ojo, Director of Administration and Supply, Ministry of Environment.
Others are Kunle Olofintuyi of the National Orientation Agency, Taiwo Omoniyi of Ekiti State Hoteliers Association, Tope Babalola of the Ministry of Information, Youth and Sports, Tunde Balogun, the Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation, Oyeleye of NISD and representative of the Ekiti State Police Command.