The CEO of KARA Nigeria, Mr Saheed Balogun reacted to the story published by Premium Times on Tuesday 11, 2018, on the account that ‘online retailers’ in Nigeria are defying the tobacco control law enforced by National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA). The CEO in a statement signed on Wednesday, 12th September, 2018 stated that KARA Nigeria is not involved in selling of tobacco or any of its by-products.
He said “The attention of KARA Nigeria (online shopping) has been drawn to an investigative story published by Premium Times with the caption ”How Nigeria’s online stores flout country’s tobacco law” on its website page on Tuesday, 11th September, 2018. We want to state categorically that the investigation carried out was almost generalized which in the module operand of KARA Nigeria, the story is absolutely false, untrue and a misrepresentation of facts. KARA Nigeria does not sell tobacco or anything relating to it to customers generally irrespective of age”.
The story published by Premium Times which partly read ‘Online retailers in Nigeria are defying the tobacco control law and continue to make brisk business selling tobacco and its products to the public through their websites’ is not true considering ‘all’ online retailers in Nigeria, he insisted. He continues: ‘in KARA Nigeria, we are proud to say that we are exempted from the story – we don’t sell tobacco or packs of cigarettes and any other by-products of tobacco as generalized and or postulated by Premium Times’.
‘It is also pertinent to note that Premium Times never put any call or email to KARA Nigeria before publishing the story in a general term. We therefore demand that Premium Times should carry out its investigative story thoroughly and exempt us (KARA Nigeria ) from subsequent one. It is a false accusation and wrong generalization on our reputation’.
He stated that, ‘KARA Nigeria as an online marketing agency in Nigeria is duly established with a very clear and unambiguous mandate to regulate, control and supervise online marketing. In our regulation, we consider tobacco not worthy of selling because it is harmful to the body if not properly controlled and there is no mechanism to monitor who buys it so that we won’t contradict the provision of NTCA. And we have been faithfully to this mandate. We are proud to say that there is no time or point in which we indulge in sells of tobacco and we won’t for any reason’.
Premium Times quoted two section of NTCA constitution: ‘in Section 15(4) of NTCA stipulates that ‘A person shall not sell or offer to sell or distribute tobacco or tobacco products through mail, internet or other online devices”. In Section 15(2), it states that ‘Prior to any tobacco or tobacco product sale or trade, the seller or trader shall verify the age of the purchaser by checking any form of official identification prescribed by law”. He again explained that KARA Nigeria is aware of the two sections of NTCA quoted by premium times.
“We reinstate that KARA Nigeria does not contravene any part of NTCA constitution quoted by Premium Times and we are not affected by the law since in KARA Nigeria we do not engage in selling tobacco or any other materials related to it”.
Conclusively, he said ‘KARA Nigeria will for this reason want to use this medium to correct the incorrect notion fashioned by that publication in the minds of its members, students, partners, affiliates, organizations, institutions, etc and wishes to put the record straight that KARA Nigeria has not and will not be involved in selling tobacco’.
‘KARA Nigeria will also like to advise journalists to always confirm their facts from authentic and reliable sources within the organization thoroughly rather than rushing to press, especially to promote the interest of the masses responsibly’.