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Nigerians Bring New $44 Billion Lawsuit Against Tobacco Companies

Nigeria's federal government is demanding more than 5.3 trillion Naira -- or more than $44 billion -- from tobacco companies such as Philip Morris. It cites the health care costs of underage smokers.

This is just one of many lawsuits by Nigerian officials against American tobacco companies. A group of Nigerian state governments, led by the bloody rulers of Kano State, previously sued the tobacco companies for billions of dollars, seeking to compel the tobacco companies to pay smokers' health care costs.

Nigeria's Kano State is almost single-handedly responsible for reviving the terrible childhood disease of polio, which an international campaign had virtually wiped out throughout the world by 2002. Given Nigeria's terrible public health record, it is hard to take seriously the public-health concerns that Nigerian officials are invoking to go after the tobacco companies.

Frankly, life expectancy in Nigeria is so low that smokers in that country will typically die of something other than tobacco-related ailments anyway. And the $44 billion sought just by Nigeria's federal government amounts to more than half of the country's Gross National Product (GNP).