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House of Reps consider bill banning plastic bags in Nigeria

The House of Representatives on Tuesday considered and adopted a report on a Bill for an Act to, among other things, prohibit the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging in Nigeria.

The consideration and adoption was done at the Committee of Whole House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Sualimon Yussuf Lassun (APC, Osun).

The bill seeks to address the harmful impacts of plastic bags on the oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, wildlife as well as human beings when passed into law.

The bill, which was forwarded to the House for concurrence having been passed in the Senate was presented to the House committee by Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno).

The report recommended that retailers of goods shall offer paper bags to customers at the point of sale in place of plastic bags or be guilty of an offence when the bill is passed into law.

The report stated that a person who manufactures plastic bags for the purpose of selling would also guilty of an offence.

The report also stated that a person who imports plastic bags for sale or carryout bags was equally guilty of an offence.

“Any body person found guilty shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not exceeding N500,000 or a jail term not exceeding three years or both,” it recommended.

The report also says that any organisation found guilty shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not more than five million naira.

Monguno, had in his presentation said that the bill seeks to relieve pressure on landfills and waste management, adding that the use of plastic bags was rampant and that the bags are not bio degradable.

According to him, the bags stay in the environment for hundreds of years and it affects arable land, water bodies and wildlife.

Lassun who presided over the session observed that the bill should create room for recycling of the bags.

He argued that the bill as it stands, which has three clauses, when passed into law would mean plastic bags would not be seen again in the country.

Following the adoption of the report, the bill will now be listed for third reading on a later date after which it would be sent to the President for assent.

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