…offenders may pay 10M fine
Oyo State House of Assembly has passed a bill to ensure stiffer penalties for human trafficking offenders and hotel operators who indulge in selling banned drugs or drug related drinks in the state.
The penalties contained in a bill, Oyo State Tourism and Hospitality Bill, 2020 which was passed into law by the state’s assembly on Tuesday.
The bill, which proposed N10 million fine or five years jail term or both for the human trafficking offenders, was passed into law by the Speaker, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin during the plenary on Tuesday.
It further proposed a fine of N200,000 for hotel, park and garden, joint operators among others who indulge in selling banned drugs or drugs related drinks in Oyo State.
According to Hon. Isiaka Kazeem Tunde, a member representing Oyo East/Oyo West and sponsor of the bill, “Oyo State Tourism and Hospitality Bill, 2020”, expressed that the focus of the bill is to regulate and improve tourism and hospitality business in the state by putting necessary regulations and guidelines in place.
The lawmaker established that the bill will give legal backing to the tourism and hospitality board, to monitor the activities of operators and ensure operations that are in line with international best practices.
Hon. Tunde, while explaining why Oyo State government should shift its attention to tourism and hospitality business to generate more revenue, disclosed that the state is blessed with various tourism center of attraction, adding that if well managed, could boost the state’s economy.
“The bill is to regulate and improve the tourism and hospitality business in the state. The bill when passed into law will give legal backing to the already established tourism and hospitality board to perform it’s responsibilities.
“The bill intends to create an investment friendly environment where investors will come down to Oyo State and feel relaxed. It comprises of hotels, parks and gardens, as well tourist attraction centers across the state.
“We want to make it practically impossible for operators to operate in the state without passing through the proper registration procedures. The bill will enable the state government to know the number of operators operating in the tourism and hospitality sector in the state. The bill has make it an offence for operators to operate without being properly registered by virtue of a section in the bill.
“The bill also gives constant streamline of revenue from government. It will help the state to move from waiting for the 30 days allocation from Abuja to survive. The tourism and hospitality business is an alternative to oil. In fact, it is more or less our oil well if it is properly managed”, he said.
Also, the bill considered the state of people living with disability. Every operator has been mandated in the bill to consider and make provision for the people living with disability to give them to access their facilities.
“There are other two important areas addressed by the bill: human trafficking and use of banned drugs or drugs related drinks. The bill makes it practically impossible for anybody especially tourists and operators to deceive the people or lure them into trafficking.
“Before the outbreak of coronavirus, we discovered that Oyo State has larger percentage of number of people being trafficked out of the country. So, when this bill becomes law, it will be impossible for anybody to deceive people with the aim of taking them abroad without proper identification and registration. The fine attached to the offence has been amended to N10 million or five years imprisonment or both”, he added.
“Another significant factor as far as this bill is concerned, especially to the operators of the hospitality environment is the selling of banned drugs or drugs related drinks. The bill addresses every hospitality environment selling drugs or banned drugs. This will enable the state to curb youths’ indulgence in taking banned drugs or drinks. The bill has also made provision for the fine of N200,000 or one year imprisonment for the operators in possession of such items,” Hon. Isiaka Tunde said.
The bill also proposed new registration and renewal fees for the operation of handcrafts, souvenir centers, rental services, viewing centers, cinema and film houses, tourism promoters and organizers of entertainment activities like musicians, DJs and comedians