Some Non-Governmental Organisations have asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to prohibit smoking in season seven of the popular reality tv show, BBNaija.
The groups, the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA, and
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Programme Officer of NTCA, Chibuike Nwokorie, said that the sixth edition of the reality show sparked public outrage when its participants flagrantly smoked on live television.
Mr. Nwokorie said this violated the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act, 2015, on-screen smoking.
He added that it also threatened the gains made on the ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) in the country.
The programme office said the tobacco control community called on NBC to act immediately when it happened.
“This year, as the programme is about to begin its seventh season, we are drawing the attention of NBC to proactively engage the show’s organisers to ensure that there is no repeat of last year’s violations.
“We wish to make it clear that should there be reluctance on the part of the regulators or the organisers to ensure a smoke-free programme, we will explore every available option in the interest of public health,” he said.
According to him, entertainment programmes set the agenda for many young people because they are the eyes through which they see the world.
“We also call on the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to caution its members from flouting tobacco control laws and ensure that they abide by the rules of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the NTC Act.
“We sound a note of caution to the organisers of BBN and a reminder of their responsibility towards the Nigerian population – At this time when Nigerians are hungry for quality leadership.”
Mr. Nwokorie said that a programme with such national reach must be used to portray high-standing role models for the Nigerian people.
“At this critical time of our nationhood journey, we cannot afford to have entertainment for mere entertainment’s sake, and young and impressionable Nigerians must not be manipulated into thinking that smoking is good.
“The National Film and Video Sensors Board (NFVCB) must live up to its responsibility of ensuring that all videos made and consumed in Nigeria strictly abide by the provisions of the NTC Act.
“This applies to the regulation of on-screen smoking and must see to the inclusion of text warnings or outright removal of needless on-screen smoking depictions,” Nwokorie said.