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FG Takes Action Against Advertising Standard Panel After ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary’ Billboard

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FG Takes Action Against Advertising Standard Panel After ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary' Billboard

The federal government of Nigeria has taken punitive action against the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) over the emergence of the ‘All Eyes on The Judiciary’ billboard in Abuja.

A statement on Tuesday by the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo said the billboard is capable of blackmailing the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and should not have been approved.

To this end, ARCON ordered that all the materials being exposed be brought down immediately and the violators sanctioned.

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Furthermore, the Council has also suspended its Director and Deputy Director in charge of Regulations to allow independent investigations into the issue.

Though the ARCON boss noted that the adverts were not approved by the ASP, he said the Panel erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed vetting guidelines.

According to him, a matter that is awaiting judicial pronouncement is precluded from being a subject of public statement, debate, discussion, and advertisement.

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The statement reads: “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.

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“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.”

The ARCON DG said the Council would set up a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the “erroneous approval” of one of the concepts of the advert and the breach of the vetting guidelines.

“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.”

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