Some Non-Governmental Organisations have called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to regulate the upcoming Big Brother Naija (BBN) Season Seven, a popular reality television programme, to become smoke-free.
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids advised on Wednesday at a news conference in Abuja.
Programme officer of NTCA, Chibuike Nwokorie, recalled that in 2021, the sixth edition of the BBN programme sparked public outrage when its participants flagrantly smoked on live television.
“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.
Mr Nwokorie said this violated the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act, 2015 on on-screen smoking.
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,’’ Mr Nwokorie said.
Michael Olaniyan, the technical resource officer, the West Africa Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to monitor and sanction violators of the TAPS ban in the digital space.
Mr Olaniyan said NBC should exercise its mandate to ensure that BBNaija does not flout any provision of the NTC Act and enforce the law, particularly penalties as listed in the law.
He said the penalties ranged from N500,000 to N5 million option of fine and from six months to five years imprisonment depending on the gravity of the violations.
The seventh edition of Big Brother Naija will hit the screen on July 23.