ARCON Dissolves Panel, Suspends Directors For Approving ‘All Eyes On The Judiciary’ Billboards
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has dissolved its Advertising Standards Panel for approving billboards targeted at the presidential election petition tribunal.
ARCON also ordered the destruction of several billboards across the country with the title: “All Eyes on The Judiciary”.
In a statement on Tuesday, Olalekan Fadolapo, ARCON director-general, said the advertisement failed to follow vetting guidelines and is capable of breaching public peace.
“The concepts exposed were not approved by the Advertising Standards Panel, hence, the council has directed that all the materials being exposed be brought down immediately and the violators sanctioned,” Fadolapo said.
“The Advertising Standards Panel of the council also erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed vetting 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 a 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.
“The Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Secretariat failing to diligently exercise its function as the gatekeeper of advertising, advertisement and marketing communications is hereby dissolved.”
The council further suspended the director and deputy director of regulations, pending the conclusion of investigations.
“The council will set up a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the erroneous approval of one of the concepts of the inappropriate advert and the breach of the vetting guidelines,” Fadolapo said.
“Consequently, the director and deputy director, regulations have also been suspended. The suspension is to enable unprejudiced investigation of the issue.”