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Continuous use, abuse of tobacco undermining SDGs in Nigeria – NTCA

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) says the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) efforts was being undermined by the continuous use and abuse of tobacco in the country.

Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Chairman of NTCA, while briefing on ‘Effective Tobacco Control Funding in Nigeria’ on Friday in Abuja explained that tobacco use has continued to impede the realisation of the SDGs, especially Goal 3 which had to do with good health and well-being.

According to him, “Goal 11 relating to sustainable cities and communities; Goal 12 that ensures responsible consumption and production, Goal 14 on life below water, and Goal 15 pertaining to sustenance of life on land are also negatively affected.”

He lamented that allocation to tobacco control had plunged by 50 per cent to N4.7m in 2023, from N9.4m of the previous year, thereby slowing down tobacco control activities in the country.

He stated that Nigeria adopted the SDGs and integrated them into her development framework since the launch of the SDGs in 2015, stressing that optimistic analysts may argue that some progress has been made towards the attainment of the goals, it is undeniable that it is still a long way off the mark.

During the recently concluded 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA, according to him, it was evident that only 15 percent of the SDGs are on track to meet the target, necessitating calls for cash and commitments from member nations to rescue the stalled development goals.

He noted that persistent advocacies have been made for the allocation to the health sector to reach the recommended 15 percent to address critical deficits.

NTCA, he said, expects that as National Assembly members resume deliberations on the 2024 Appropriation Bill, they would pay close attention to the proposed budget for Tobacco Control, and significantly increase the amount to deal with myriad issues occasioned by tobacco use in the country.