By Abigael Joshua
Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Chairman Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), has called on the Federal Government to ensure proper funding for tobacco control in the country.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a press briefing on tobacco control and budgeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event is: “To ensure sustainable development through effective tobacco control funding/budgeting”.
“Tobacco is killing eight million people every year, institutionalising tobacco control funding and following through with 100 per cent release of budgeted sums will boost the implementation of life-saving provisions of the National Tobacco Act, 2015, and its Regulations of 2019.
“It is evident that there are competing priorities in the health sector, underscoring the need to funnel monies to deal with critical issues.
“This is why tobacco control funding must be expressly prioritised because tobacco is a major contributor to global non-communicable diseases because burden,” Oluwafemi said.
The chairman NTCA said that the “unfortunate slash of funding has slowed down tobacco control efforts in the country, whilst threatening the gains painstakingly made through the years.
“Regrettably, the allocation to tobacco control plunged by 50 per cent to N4.7 million in 2023, from N9.4 million of 2022.
“Sept. 26, today President Bola Tinubu is expected to declare war on global drug trafficking at the 31st meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Agencies in Africa.
“We commend this move by the President, and we encourage him to make tobacco control a key strategy in contacting the drug scourge.”
The chairman assured that this effort by the president would deal with one of the root causes of drug use among youths as tobacco is a gateway to the use of hard drugs.
Mr Nwokorie Chibuike, Programme Manager NTCA, noted that tobacco is a major gate way to drug addiction and urged that the Federal Government release proper funds for its control.
“You can’t fight drugs without controlling tobacco, the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015 and its Regulations of 2019 made it specific how tobacco control should be funded in the country.
“We are calling on the National Assembly to make sure that tobacco control is properly funded in the country,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)