Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has warned that Nigeria could lose $145 billion by 2025 over its failure to key into the global legal marijuana market.
He made this known via his verified Twitter handle yesterday while reacting to some media reports on his trip to Thailand.
The governor and the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, are in the Asian country for a programme on the development of medicinal cannabis.
“Our focus now is medical marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of the NDLEA. I strongly implore the Federal Government to take this seriously as it is a thriving industry that will create thousands of jobs for our youth and spurs economic diversification,” he tweeted.
This came as the House of Representatives yesterday approved the draft National Tobacco Control (NTC) Regulations in a move aimed at enhancing the health of the citizenry.
The regulation empowers the Federal Ministry of Health to grant a licence for each variant of a tobacco product to curtail abuse. This is a departure from the old order where such powers were vested in government agencies.
The NTC Act was signed into law in 2015. It is however yet to be fully implemented because some of its provisions require regulations, which were only approved on May 7, 2019 by the House of Representatives.
The approved draft regulations state that all forms of tobacco products shall carry health warning; stronger and better defined prohibited packaging; principal display areas; and 50 per cent graphic health warning, to be automatically increased to 80 per cent after four years.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who decried the harmful effects of the products, regretted that about 17,000 Nigerians die yearly from tobacco-induced illnesses.