The Federal Government of Nigeria has moved to dissolve the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) due to its approval of the controversial ” All eyes on Judiciary” billboards which he deemed as blackmail targeted towards the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
ASP is the Statutory Panel within the Council that holds the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements adhere to the prevailing laws of the Federation as well as the Code of advertising ethics of the advertising profession.
In an official statement released by Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), the dissolution of the panel has been confirmed. Additionally, the Council has decided to suspend both its Director and Deputy Director in charge of Regulations to facilitate a thorough investigation into the matter.
The statement outlined the issues with the advertisement approval:
* The campaign’s central theme is linked to a matter that is currently pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, making it “jus pendis.”
* The matter being “jus pendis” is precluded from being a subject of public statements, debates, discussions, or advertisements within the Nigerian legal system.
* The advertisement is deemed controversial and has the potential to incite public unrest and disturb public peace.
* The advertisement is considered an act of blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, and particularly the Honorable Justices of the Tribunal, who are expected to carry out their judicial duties impartially and without influence, especially concerning a matter that is currently “jus pendis.”
To address these concerns, the ARCON will establish a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the “erroneous approval” of the advertisement concept and the breach of vetting guidelines. As a result, both the Director and Deputy Director of Regulations have been suspended, ensuring an impartial investigation of the issue.
In light of the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Secretariat’s failure to diligently execute its role as the gatekeeper of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communications, the secretariat is dissolved with immediate effect, according to the ARCON DG.