Public smokers in Lagos face imprisonment as Fashola assents to bill

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Gov .Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Monday in Ikeja assented to a bill prohibiting smoking in schools, hotels, and other public places in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fashola’s assent followed the passage of the bill by the state House of Assembly on Jan. 20.

The law, a copy of which was obtained by NAN, prescribes between one month to three months imprisonment or a fine of between N10,000 to N15,000 for offending smokers.

Any person who repeatedly violates the law risks six months imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both.

The law also requires owners and those in charge of public places and other “No Smoking Areas” to put up signs prohibiting the practise on their property and stop people from smoking around their premises.

Violators of the provision of the law are liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or six months imprisonment or both.

In his remarks, Fashola said the new law spoke of the commitment of the state government to the promotion of public health and public safety.

He said the overall objective of the new law was to protect lives and safeguard the rights of residents of the state.

“I should have no difficulty assenting to this bill, because it serves to strengthen our hands towards a more efficient discharge of our responsibilities to protect lives and property,” he said.

Presenting the bill for the governor’s assent, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, said while presenting the bill that the new law sought to protect both smokers and non-smokers.

He said while smokers were still permitted to smoke in privacy, they were not allowed to smoke in schools, theatres, hotels, schools, malls and other areas where lives could be endangered.

Ipaye said officials of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) had been empowered to enforce the law, urging residents to comply with its provisions for the overall safety of all residents .

NAN reports that Fashola also signed into law a bill to establish the Lagos State Emergency Command and Control Centre and to regulate making of telephone calls to the centre.

Fashola said the creation of the centre was to enhance the state`s emergency management system and to sharpen response by emergency officials to emergency calls put across to the centre by distressed residents.

The governor decried the abuse of the various emergency lines by residents, saying the practise hindered the capacities of officials to respond to genuine emergency situations.

NAN reports that the highlight of the law is the prescription of N500, 000 fine or three years imprisonment for residents who repeatedly put fake calls to the state`s emergency numbers of 767 and 112. (NAN)

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