The Nigerian government is suing three leading tobacco companies (British American Tobacco Plc, Philip Morris International and International Tobacco Ltd, a Nigerian company), seeking more than 40 billion dollars (29 billion euros) in damages for the cost of treating smoking-related diseases, according to court papers obtained Wednesday.
"It is the first time ever that an African state files a case against a tobacco company. No other state in Africa has ever done it," Babatunde Irukera, the lawyer representing the government told AFP.
"The exact amount the federal government is claiming is 5.3 trillion naira," (42 billion dollars) he told AFP.
The suit accuses them of concealing the harmful nature of smoking and of promoting underage smoking.
"The amount is certainly high for Africa, but it is far lower than the amounts that have been claimed in the USA for example," Irukera said, adding that one US state had claimed 286 billion dollars compensation.
Irukera also represents Nigeria in its 6.5-billion-dollar suit against US pharmaceuticals company Pfizer Inc. for an alleged illegal drug trial.
The government is also seeking an injunction compelling the companies to stop the marketing and sale of cigarettes.
What I find amazing is that in the link I provide and in the same news item, Marlboro has a big ad!