CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

CAPPA & NTCA Pay Courtesy Visit to Daily Trust Newspaper to Galvanise Joint Action for Tobacco Control

On February 3, 2022, the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) team paid a courtesy visit to Daily Trust Newspaper at their corporate headquarters in Abuja. The CAPPA and NTCA delegation comprising of Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi (Executive Director, CAPPA), Mr. Phillip Jakpor (Director of Programmes, CAPPA), Chibuike Nwokorie (Project Officer, NTCA), Paul Ashibel (Media Officer, NTCA), Adepeju Adeogun (Finance Officer, NTCA), and Abayomi Sarunmi (Digital Media Officer, CAPPA) were received by the editorial team of Daily Trust Newspaper.  The news agency is reputed as one of Nigeria’s most influential and widely read papers. Thus, the courtesy visit was geared towards enhancing collaborative relations with the media house to turn the spotlight on Tobacco Control issues.[spacer height=”25px”]

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Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, CAPPA, intimated the editorial team on the timeline of Nigeria’s tobacco control journey beginning from when the country signed and ratified the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) in 2004 and 2005 respectively, to when it domesticated the WHO-FCTC through the enactment of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA) in 2015. He noted that Nigeria’s Tobacco Control law is quite unique as it is further bolstered by the National Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 which provides the legal framework for achieving the objectives set out in the NTCA, 2015.[spacer height=”25px”]

Presently, CAPPA and NTCA are working with key stakeholders and regulatory agencies to implement key provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 that include the enforcement of the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS), enforcement of Policy on Graphic Health Warnings, and Advocacy for operationalisation of the Tobacco Control Fund. In working to ensure enforcement of the ban on TAPS, CAPPA and NTCA are working with the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to achieve the restriction of smoking and tobacco advertisements in the movie and entertainment industry in Nigeria. Accordingly, the trio in collaboration with notable movie icons flagged off the #smokefreeNollywood campaign in 2019. The campaign aims to build a relationship with movie producers, scriptwriters, actors/actresses, and directors to enforce a code of conduct for the depiction of tobacco in movies.[spacer height=”25px”]

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On the successes achieved so far in the Enforcement of Policy on Graphic Health Warnings, he noted that courtesy of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) that kickstarted the enforcement of the policy on December 8, 2021, tobacco products in circulation now reflect on fifty percent of total size area of product packs or containers, picture and text warnings about the dangers of tobacco as against the old practice of displaying just text warnings.[spacer height=”25px”]

Speaking on the operationalisation of the Tobacco Control Fund, he informed the room that even though stipulated in Nigeria’s Tobacco law, implementation of the provision is yet to happen thus he charged the Daily Trust editorial team to prompt relevant authorities to do so by flagging the issue in the news. The editorial team was also encouraged to draw public attention to the prevalence of smoking in movies and music videos, including the compliance status of big tobacco manufacturers in Nigeria to domestic tobacco regulations.[spacer height=”25px”]

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Chibuike Nwokorie of the NTCA emphasised the importance of extending the enforcement exercise of graphic health policy beyond Lagos state and FCT, Abuja, to other parts of the country.  He assured the Daily Trust team of the NTCA’s commitment to providing qualitative data and information that can be used to craft penetrating stories and reports.[spacer height=”25px”]

Hamza Idris, General Editor, Daily Trust Newspaper also took the opportunity to inform the visiting delegation of the media organisation’s zero-level tolerance for smoking in its premises. This restriction also feeds into its media advocacy for tobacco control.[spacer height=”25px”]

Production Manager, Gaidem Aliu noted the need for tobacco control advocacy groups to focus on other forms of tobacco use such as shisha smoking which constitutes as much danger as cigarette smoking.[spacer height=”25px”]

Political Editor, Ismail Mudashiru, advised the tobacco control community to liaise with committees of the National Assembly to introduce stringent taxes on tobacco products in order to influence a reduction in tobacco consumption and increase revenue for the government.[spacer height=”25px”]

Stella Iyaji, Managing Director, Daily Trust Newspaper, commended the CAPPA and NTCA for deciding on the advocacy and sensitisation visit. She also reiterated the organisation’s resolve to join forces with CAPPA and NTCA to fight tobacco use in Nigeria, including its excessive depiction and advertisement in movies. She noted that Daily Trust was well equipped to spread the advocacy of tobacco control. Beyond its hard copy newspaper, and specific news production like the Daily Trust Saturday, Daily Trust Sunday, and Daily Trust Vernacular, the media organisation also hosts communication channels such as a podcast platform and Daily Trust television.[spacer height=”25px”]

The meeting concluded with a brief picture session and presentation of tobacco control advocacy materials to the Daily Trust editorial team.

 

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