The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) and the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) have urged the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction the organisers of Big Brother Naija Season 6 for defying the agency’s directive on smoking in the Big Brother Naija Show.
The NBC had issued a directive prohibiting smoking in the show following a letter jointly written by NTCA and CAPPA on July 16, 2021, drawing the agency’s attention to the organisers’ violation of the provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 pertaining to the ban of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS).
Section 12(1) of the NTC Act 2015 defines tobacco advertising and promotion to include “any form of commercial communication, recommendation, or action with the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use directly or indirectly. That section also states that: “no person shall promote or advertise tobacco or tobacco products in any form.”
In the letter jointly signed by CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, and NTCA Programme Manager, Chibuike Nwokorie, dated August 23, 2021, and addressed to the Director General of the NBC, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, both organisations said that the organisers of the Big Brother Naija Season 6 have continued to flout the directive.
They revealed that the infractions by the Housemates shown smoking cigarettes in the Big Brother Naija Season 6 were noticed on August 2, 5, 10, 11, and 13, 2021.
In the letter, the NTCA and CAPPA stated that findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that movies and entertainment materials are the most veritable tools of the tobacco industry which has been instrumental in the transfer of ideas and promotion of alternative lifestyles to kids.
“The kids, generally impressionable, are enticed by what they see and are initiated into using tobacco products through advertising and subliminal promotion of smoking scenes in movies, music videos and product placements.
“Big Brother Naija Show has a great impression on the youths, and it is unfortunate that smoking scenes are being promoted at a time that research has shown that smokers are more susceptible to developing complications or even death if they contract the Coronavirus. ..This is also happening at a time that the government is working relentlessly to reduce smoking initiation in the country”.
While the organisations commended the NBC for prompt response to their letter dated July 16, 2021 requesting the enforcement of the NTC Act 2015 and the Regulations, they said it was disheartening that there has been blatant disregard of the directive in the ongoing Big Brother Naija Season 6.
They urged the NBC to enforce the NTC Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 by sanctioning the organisers of Big Brother Naija Season 6 for wilfully disobeying the directive and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.