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Kano sues firms for N1.6 trillion over tobacco-related ailments

Posted by By Gbolahan Gbadamosi, Deputy Judicial Editor on 2007/05/14 | Views: 556 |

Kano sues firms for N1.6 trillion over tobacco-related ailments


KANO State government at the weekend took a cue from the Lagos State by initiating a N1.6 trillion compensation suit against British-American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria Limited, International Tobacco Limited and four others for health hazards resulting from cigarette smoking in the most populous northern state.

KANO State government at the weekend took a cue from the Lagos State by initiating a N1.6 trillion compensation suit against British-American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria Limited, International Tobacco Limited and four others for health hazards resulting from cigarette smoking in the most populous northern state.

Kano State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Aliyu Umar, endorsed the suit and named other defendants to include British-American Tobacco Plc, British-American Tobacco (Investment) Limited, Phillip Morris International and Tobacco Institute.

Two weeks ago, the suit brought by Umar's counterpart in Lagos, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), was complemented by a non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

Also last week, Justice Atinuke Ipaye of a Lagos High Court granted an order for extra-territorial service on British-American Tobacco Company in United States (U.S.), United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland.

In its action, Kano State asserted that BAT (Nigeria) Limited as a first defendant manufactures, advertises and sells cigarettes and cigars like Benson & Hedges, Rothmans, Gold Leaf, Target, St. Moritz and Mars, among others.

The government added that one of the reasons for filing the action was to "recover health care costs paid for and furnished by the state for cancer, heart diseases and pulmonary diseases and other tobacco-related illness caused by the conduct of the defendants."

Another reason adduced was "to restrain defendants and their co-conspirators from engaging in fraud and other unlawful conduct in the future and to compel the defendants to disgorge the proceeds of their unlawful conduct."

According to Kano State government, the defendants, since 1953, has been deceiving the public and the state by not informing that the "smoking increases the risk of disease and death."

Contending that cigarette smoking "is a preventable cause of too many preventive deaths each year in Kano State as well as that cigarette contains nicotine, which is addictive drug." The government noted that it took the action, in order "to impose upon the industry the legal responsibility for the consequences of its actions."

The government therefore sought the following orders:


an order of mandatory injunction compelling the defendants, their successors-in-title, privies and or agents to cease the marketing, promotion, distribution and sale of tobacco-related products to minors or under-aged persons;

an order of mandatory injunction restraining the defendants from representing or portraying to minors or persons under the age of 18, any alluring and/or misleading image regarding tobacco-related products whether by direct depictions, pictorials, advertorials, images, words, messages, sponsorships, branding and/or through overt or covert and/or subliminal means; and

an order of mandatory injunction restraining the defendants from marketing, distributing, selling, or putting into the stream of commerce either by themselves or through their distributors, agents, resellers, trade partners, marketers, and/or any other person, any tobacco-related products of whatever make or brand within a 1,000-metre radius of any schools, hospitals, cinemas, playhouses or locations, children's shopping areas, childcare facilities or such other public places in Kano State that are predominantly a location for minors and young persons under 18 years old to "hang out," play, assemble, congregate for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to educational, recreational, social, religious, sports or any other purposes.
The breakdown of the compensation which the government is asking the court to compel the defendants to pay are as follows:


the sum of N36.50 billion, being special damages for negligence occasioned by the defendants;

the sum of N1.56 trillion, being anticipatory damages for the future expenses to be borne by the plaintiff in paying for the injuries created and caused by tobacco smoking to the public health;

the sum of N100 billion as punitive damages for the defendants' wrongful conduct;

the sum of N150 billion, being restitution and/or disgorgement of profits for unjust enrichment; and

the sum of N36.50 billion, being special damages for the actionable wrongs, including public nuisance, fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and conspiracy, occasioned by the defendants.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown