The federal government of Nigeria has recently taken punitive measures against the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) in response to the appearance of the controversial ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary’ billboard in Abuja.
This move comes after concerns were raised about the billboard’s potential to blackmail the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and its failure to meet approval guidelines.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), expressed that the billboard’s content should not have been approved due to its capacity for undermining the integrity of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
ARCON has subsequently ordered the immediate removal of all materials associated with the billboard and called for appropriate sanctions against those responsible.
Furthermore, as part of its response, the Council has taken the decision to suspend the Director and Deputy Director in charge of Regulations within the ASP.
This suspension will facilitate an independent investigation into the matter at hand.
Dr. Fadolapo acknowledged that while the ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary’ advertisements were not approved by the ASP, the Panel made an error in endorsing one of the concepts that failed to adhere to vetting guidelines.
The crux of the issue lies in the fact that the central theme of the advertisement pertains to a matter currently awaiting judicial pronouncement at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
As per Nigerian legal protocol, matters in this state, known as “jus pendis,” are prohibited from being subjects of public discourse, discussion, advertisement, or any form of public statement.
The ARCON statement outlines the reasons for the advertisement’s failure to meet vetting guidelines:
1. The content of the advertisement pertains to a matter under judicial consideration.
2. The advertisement is likely to provoke public unrest and disrupt public peace.
3. The advertisement is perceived as a form of blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, and the Justices involved in the case.
To address this issue, the ARCON plans to establish a committee to investigate how the “erroneous approval” of one of the advertisement concepts occurred and how it led to the breach of vetting guidelines.
The suspension of the Director and Deputy Director of Regulations is intended to ensure a fair and unbiased investigation process.
As a result of the incident, the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Secretariat, which failed to adequately fulfill its role as the guardian of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communications, will be dissolved.
The federal government’s decisive actions reflect its commitment to upholding the integrity of the judiciary and maintaining a fair and unbiased legal process.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn