Oyo State House of Assembly on Thursday passed a bill banning smoking in public places in the state. The “Bill to Regulate Smoking in Public Places and for Connected Purposes’’ also provides three to six months imprisonment or fine of between N15,000 and N50,000 for offenders. The bill was sponsored by Mr Segun Ajanaku and Mr Segun Olaleye, representing Ibadan South-West II and Ibadan North II constituencies, respectively.
Supporting the passage of the bill, the Chairman of the assembly’s Committee on Health, Mr Silas Okunola, said that the bill was necessary for regulating smoking in designated places, include shopping centres, restaurants, public toilets and cinemas. Other areas covered by the proposed law are hospitals, creches, schools and public transportation vehicles within the state.
Specifically, the bill stipulates fine of N15, 000 or three month imprisonment or both for first time offenders while any person guilty of repeated act would be liable to a N50, 000 fine or six months imprisonment or both. It also stipulates that any person found guilty of smoking in the presence of a child in a manner that exposes smoke to be injurious to the child, would be liable to a month imprisonment with an option of N15, 000 or both.
The bill states that any person who repeatedly violates the provision of not smoking in the presence of a child will be liable to one year imprisonment with an option of not less than N100, 000 or both. It makes it compulsory for any person involved with the management of a public place to put a ‘No-Smoking’ sign in conspicuous areas.
It states that refusal to place the sign or symbol by a corporate body, director, manager, company secretary or any person concerned in the management of the corporate body will be liable to N250, 000 fine upon conviction.
According to the provisions of the bill, any person found guilty of not putting up a ‘No-Smoking’ sign would be liable to six months imprisonment or N100,000 or other non-custodial punishment that the court may deem fit. In another development, the lawmakers called on relevant government agencies and departments to investigate the incidence of earth tremor experienced in Saki West constituency.
They made the call following a motion by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Musah Abdulwasi, brought under Matters of Urgent Public Importance. According to Abdulwasi, Saki town has been experiencing cases of tremor in its communities around Medina, Abimbola and Veterinary areas. He said that the tremor occurred in the affected area as often as three days intervals.
“A tremor ordinarily precedes an earthquake. Unless urgent steps are taken, the affected communities will continue to live in a state of apprehension, anxiety and insecurity and it will affect the quality of life of the residents,” he said.