Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON has waded into the alleged onslaught on the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) by Kaduna State Government with aim of resolving the crisis.
Late May this year, OAAN which employs over 4,000 Nigerians and contributes significantly to GDP accused Kaduna State government of pulling down its members’ billboards structures and prevented the owners from recovering them.
OAAN alleged that the whole essence of Kaduna State was to allow some favoured business owners, close to the corridors of power in Kaduna State to install their LED platforms in those areas which advertising industry described as another form of franchising or monopoly that is not acceptable.
But speaking at the yearly meeting of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) recently in Lagos, Lekan Fadalopo, Register of APCON, said he has reached out to the Director General of the Kaduna State signage agency on the recent clamp down on OAAN billboards in Kaduna, and said they have scheduled a meeting to look at the issues with the hope that the issue will be resolved amicably.
Fadalopo appreciated OAAN’s contribution to the growth and development of the nation’s economy through their business activities.
Earlier in his welcome address, the president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria Emmanuel Ajufo said the association’s engagements with major stakeholders are beginning to yield fruits, but there is still a long way to go. According to him they have enjoyed a good relationship with APCON.
He also said the OAAN relationship with other sectoral groups has been wonderful as their support in their struggles has been unprecedented.
He further stressed that, while OAAN does not have anything against the signage agencies earning income from out of home services, the advertising practitioners should not be seen as the State Governments’ major source of IGR after oil, adding that, they believe that signage agencies should rather focus their minds on how to ensure sustainable growth of the industry.
The guest lecturer, Barrister CIC Chikwendu who spoke on “OOH Business and Nigerian Regulatory Laws” said the business of out- of- home advertising is regulated by direct and indirect laws.
Chikwendu said advertising is not one of the matters mentioned in the body of the Constitution. It is also “not one of the matters mentioned in the Exclusive List on which only the Federal Legislature can legislate”.
He identified advertising as one of the many matters called residual matters. “The position is that State Legislatures may legislate on residual matters. The Constitution however places out-door advertising and hoarding under the control and regulation of the Local Government Council”.
He said Local Government Councils in all the States carried out function of control and regulation of out-door advertising and hoarding, albeit haphazardly, until 2006 when Lagos State introduced the Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency Law. “ Lagos State having seemingly succeeded in surmounting a legal challenge to this Law, many other States have copied and enacted similar Laws. The implication of this is that control and regulation of outdoor advertising in States have, at least for the present, been effectively removed from Local Government Councils and vested in State agencies in these States”
The Barrister recalled that Advertising Practitioners Act (APCON Act) which came into force on 27th December, 1988, is a principal legislation that regulates the practice of advertising and practitioners of advertising including out of home advertising practitioners.
He said it appears that the outdoor advertising agency is the most exposed of all advertising agencies to external control and regulation by the Federal, State and Local Government agencies. “In their challenges with government agencies, outdoor advertising practitioners may have to stand alone as there is no provision in the APCON Act that requires the Council be of assistance to them”.