The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has mandated the removal of “All Eyes on the Judiciary” billboard advertisements across Nigeria with immediate effect.
Olalekan Fadolapo, director-general of ARCON, demanded that all exposed items be removed right away and that those who violated the law be punished.
He said that the council’s Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) had made a mistake in approving one of the concepts.
Foladapo said that the advertisement violated some vetting standards.
“The cause forming the central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), hence it’s jus pendis,” he said.
“ A matter being jus pendis and awaiting judicial pronouncement is, by virtue of the Nigerian legal system, precluded from being a subject of public statement, debate, discussion, advertisement etc.
“The advertisement is controversial and capable of instigating public unrest and breach of public peace.”
According to Fadolapo, the advertisement constitutes blackmail against the PEPT, the Honourable Justices of the Tribunal, and the Nigerian Judiciary in general. These individuals are expected to carry out their legal duties impartially and without fear or favour in relation to a case that is currently jus pendis.
In addition, he disbanded the ASP Secretariat for its negligence in allowing the advertisement while serving as the gatekeeper of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communications.
The council will form a committee to look into the circumstances behind the acceptance of one of the offensive advertisement’s designs and the violation of the vetting standards, he said.
As a result, the regulations have been suspended, as well as the director and deputy director. According to him, the suspension will allow for an unbiased investigation of the problem.