The Federal Government has dissolved the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP).
The decision is linked to its approval of the billboard titled, ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary’ which allegedly blackmails the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), made the announcement on Tuesday.
Based on the announcement, the director and deputy director of the council have been suspended until the conclusion of an investigation into the matter.
Fadolapo said the advert was approved in error.
He said, “The attention of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeriə [ARCON) has been drawn to the “All Eyes on the Judiciary” advertisements exposed on some billboards across the country. The concepts exposed were not approved by the Advertising Standərds Panel, hence, the Council has directed that all the materials being exposed be brought down immediately and the violators sanctioned.
“The Advertising Standards Panel of the Council also erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed to vet guidelines on the following grounds: The cause forming the central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Hence, it’s jus pendis.
“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.
“The advertisement is considered blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, and particularly the Honourable Justices of the Tribunal who are expected to discharge their judicial functions without fear or favour over a matter that is currently jus pendis.”
According to him, the Council would set up a committee to investigate the approval of the billboard.
“Consequently, the Director and Deputy Director, Regulations have also been suspended. The suspension is to enable an unprejudiced investigation of the issue. The Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Secretariat failing to diligently exercise its function as the gatekeeper of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communications is hereby dissolved,” he added.