• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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LASAA caught in-between politicians, police

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This is the season of political campaigns and elections. Almost every action, in-action and comments by politicians and state agents are interpreted to have political colouration. Such interpretations, when viewed against certain incidences, could be appropriate or otherwise.

Recently, Lagos State Signage Advertising Agency (LASAA) was locked up in argument with police over removal of posters pasted indiscriminately within Lagos State.

Though, Lagos is now thoroughly defaced by political posters that created a burden on LASAA, or which the agency has perhaps overlooked, but the Nigerian police recently accused LASAA of partisan in the removal billboards and posters of candidates of various political parties in the state, thereby creating an uneven playing field for candidates.

In order to ensure a level playing field, Kayode Aderanti, commissioner of police, Lagos State, threatened to arrest anybody that attempts to remove any billboard or poster of any candidate of the various political parties, even if these were deployed illegally and in contravention of guidelines issued by LASAA in November 2014.

According to analysts, police intervention is to ensure that all candidates in the forthcoming election have equal opportunity in canvassing for votes through posters. But when some posters are removed in certain areas leaving some other posters in other areas under any excuse, it questions the genuineness in comprehensively cleaning Lagos of posters.

In its reaction, LASAA stated clearly that the “removal of posters that deface our environment is a statutory obligation of LASAA. The agency is therefore baffled that the Nigeria Police (which is responsible for enforcing the laws of this nation), is (by the statement issued by the commissioner of police) encouraging and expressly supporting the flagrant disregard and contravention of environmental guidelines issued to all political parties.”

In a statement by its CEO, George Noah, LASAA, said it had equally received complaints from members of the public on the increase in political posters and had undertaken this task without any favour. “Over 100,000 political posters are illegally deployed in the state on a daily basis in the last three months in contravention of laid down guidelines.

“We wish to assure all political parties that as long as all election materials are not deployed within our stipulated guidelines, such materials will continue to be removed.”

As the arm of the state government entrusted with the responsibility to control and regulate use of outdoor advertising displays in Lagos State, our Agency (by our statutory function) must ensure that all outdoor advertising materials used for election purposes must be deployed within the provisions of our guidelines and in accordance with extant laws, he said.

“Our guidelines have been issued without prejudice to any individual, political party, association or aspirant, and our intention is to ensure fairness and equality among all concerned stakeholders while judiciously preserving the integrity of our environment and applying the rules without sentiments or bias,” he said further.