Civil society groups have called on the Federal government to sanction Multichoice, the owner of the DSTV satellite cable for promoting the act of smoking through one of the scenes in the on-going Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) reality show.
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), and Gatefield and Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) in a joint press conference held in Abuja on Thursday said the way the way some of the housemates were seen smoking on the live show was shocking.
Two of the housemates, Khloe and Teddy A were seen puffing cigarettes after a heated argument with other housemates.
Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN , Akinbode Oluwafemi noted that the smoking scene generated outrage and criticism from different quarters, adding that the comment credited to the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie is far from encouraging.
“Prodded by her followers on her Twitter page to do something about the smoking scene, the special assistant was said to have.
“Her advice to parents is to use their remote control to change the channel whenever obscenity is shown. For us, this is hardly the answer that Nigerians want and we find it very disturbing,” he said.
Sub-regional co-ordinator of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (ERA/FoEN), Hilda Ochefu said the smoking scene did not just glamorise the habit of smoking, but it will also create the opinion that cigarettes are good for calming frayed nerves, adding that this can affect the perception of the viewers, most especially the kids.
The group, however, presented some recommendations to be considered by the National Broadcasting Commission in sanctioning Multichoice. They recommended that:
- Government at all levels and the relevant agencies should begin enforcement of the nine key provisions of the NTC Act that prohibits smoking in public places and bans sale of cigarettes in single sticks, among others.
- Relevant agencies of government such as the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the security services begin a clampdown on infractions
- The Federal Ministry of Health should urgently send the draft Regulations to the National Assembly for approval.