Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) on Thursday announced winners of its Tobacco Control Rap Challenge at a glamorous ceremony in Lagos attended by tobacco control advocates and youth groups.
The competition which started on September 2 targeted creating awareness on enforcement of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and Tobacco Regulations to the youths through a music competition tagged #TCRapChallenge and #EnforceTCRegNow.
The Rap Challenge promoted the regulatory provisions contained in the NTC Act which among others, ban the sale of cigarettes in single sticks and the sale of cigarettes to minors.
Recall the Regulations to the Act was approved by the National Assembly in May 2019, but tobacco control advocates are still calling on the federal government to gazzette the document and commence its full implementation.
The winner of the competition was Okugbuni Efemena Ferdinand based in Lagos who received a cash gift of N150,000 (One hundred and fifty thousand naira). First runner up was Udeng Bennet Etido based in Enugu who received N100,000 (One hundred thousand naira). Adeogun Joy Yinka based in Oyo, Atiku Godswill Goddy from Abuja and Udeng Otobong Bennet from Anambra each got N50, 000 (Fifty thousand naira).
ERA/FoEN Social Media Officer, Adewunmi Adeniyi said:“The TCRap Challenge is a reflection of ERA/FoEN belief that the youth are crucial in tobacco control. From the diversity of the winners, it can be concluded that Nigerian youths yearn for effective regulation of tobacco products and reject tobacco industry attempts to conscript them into the smoking habit”
He explained that, “Our knowledge of how the tobacco industry targets the youths made us conceive this initiative to reach the same audience that the tobacco industry targets as replacement smokers.”
The winners will get studio sessions, tobacco control branded T-shirts, phones and cash prizes, among other gifts.
ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said:“We are happy that the youths targeted by tobacco companies have demonstrated through music that despite the tobacco industry strategies to grow replacement smokers, they can make the right choices.”
The TC Rap Challenge received nearly 400 entries and participants on ERA/FoEN social media platforms. The platforms recorded over 1million reach on Facebook, over 500k reach on Instagram. During the campaign, the hashtag #TCRapChallenge and #EnforceTCRegNow trended two times within two weeks of commencement, was over 1,180 tweets with 480 retweets and 550 replies during the campaign.