HASG condemns LASAA/KASUPDA onslaught … LASAA debunks claims

The Heads of Advertising Sectoral Group (HASG) has expressed deep concern over the onslaught in Lagos and Kaduna States against Out-of-Home Advertising practice in the Nigeria. The group made this call during the press briefing held on 26th May, 2022 at the Erith Apartment & Suites Ikeja, Lagos.

The concerned group has called for an immediate intervention of the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, relevant government departments and the general public to the imminent dangers that are lurking if the trend continues unabated.

However, LASAA has debunked the allegations, saying that they are spurious and unfounded aimed at whipping up undue sentiments by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN).

In a speech read to newsmen in Lagos, HASG stated that it is no longer news that OAAN is at loggerheads with the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) over a number of overbearing infractions which, according to the Association, if not checked by His Excellency, Governor Sanwo-Olu, will strangulate the businesses of its members.

Recall that the group had earlier complained on LASAA’s refusal to work within the framework of the laws that established it, especially the failure of the Lagos State Government to constitute and inaugurate a governing board to supervise its activities and for the resolution of issues that bother on disagreement between the Agency and OOH operators, notably members of OAAN.

HASG added that there is also the issue of LASAA’s arbitrary fixing of fees payable on billboard platforms as well as the Agency’s insistence on payment of advert permit fees even when there are no advertisements on the billboards.

“The concern here is LASAA’s demand that permit fees be paid even when there is nothing to be “permitted”. Additional to all these is the unrestrained penchant of operatives of LASAA to regularly take the laws into their hands when they carry out their “enforcement” exercises, during which they vandalise advertisement and campaign materials,” the group said.

The group also mentioned that they observed that LASAA has continued to grant non-registered practitioners licences to own billboards and operate in Lagos State contrary to the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria’s (APCON) guidelines. According to the sectoral heads, LASAA action is eroding on APCON’s regulatory functions, just as it is promoting charlatanism in the advertising industry in the country.

According to HASG, LASAA’s plan to concession seven (7) of the major roads in the state to bidders, and the successful ones to own and operate franchises on such roads for a period of 10 years is, no doubt, a grave danger. The HASG is of the informed opinion that such exercise will not stimulate the growth of the advertising industry, but can only, at best, lead to monopoly, and which will ultimately lead to increase in the cost of engaging Out-of-Home media platforms by advertisers.

The group emphasized that if such is allowed, the backlash would include the loss of businesses and the means of livelihood of those who currently operate along those corridors. There is also the certainty of unemployment issues. We believe very strongly that this plan will also have spiral social effects on the environment which will suffer greatly from indiscriminate display of materials, leading to visual blight. Added to that, the larger advertising industry will be adversely affected: rates would go up, and advertisers will seek cheaper alternatives including moving on to the social media platforms.

Referring to the Kaduna issue, the sectoral heads said: “The cankerworm which is the manifestation of the overbearing influence of government departments with responsibility to control the practice of Out-of-Home Advertising also recently reared its head in Kaduna State, where KASUPDA (Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority) gave billboard owners 7 days within which to remove their structures from certain areas of the city. Their reason was that the affected areas are to now be populated by LED (electronic billboards).But, while discussions were still ongoing between OAAN and KASUPDA, the state rolled out the bulldozers and other instruments of destruction and pulled down billboards structures, prevented the owners from recovering them and sold them off to those who trade in scraps!

“We have since found out that the whole essence is to allow some favoured business owners, close to the corridors of power in Kaduna State to install their LED platforms in those areas, and have the monopoly of practicing there. This is another form of franchising, and HASG frowns at it.”

HASG then cautioned LASAA and KASUPDA as well as those other states that might be planning such acts to stop as it may end up creating problems for the industry.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) has debunked claim that it has continued to grant non-registered APCON practitioners the right to own billboards and operate in Lagos contrary to APCON’s guidelines. The advertising regulatory agency of the state described such allegation as ridiculous and a figment of the imagination of purveyors of such claims.

Debunking the allegation in a telephone chat with MARKETING EDGE weekend, Chief executive Officer of LASAA, Adedamola Docemo said: ‘‘There is no iota of truth in the alleged claim by HASG in its unsigned press statement in Lagos that LASAA has continued to grant non-registered practitioners rights to own billboards and operate in Lagos State contrary to the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria APCON guidelines.”

Rather, he said the agency has its own set rules and guidelines for authoritising practitioners who operate and own billboards in the state, insisting that membership of APCON and certification by the federal regulatory agency remains sacrosanct.

However, Mr. Docemo said the LASAA rules and guidelines do not recognize membership of OAAN by prospective practitioner as a pre-condition to be met before LASAA grants practice approval to prospective registered APCON practitioner. According to him, OAAN membership is optional, hence, LASAA does not reckon with it in its guidelines.

His words: “There has never been any company registered to practice, own or operate billboards in Lagos State without possessing APCON registered certificate. Although LASAA has rules and guidelines on operating billboards in the state, companies that LASAA registers to operate must have APCON certification. In fact, it is the minimum irreducible qualification for consideration by LASAA.”

Similarly, the agency has pooh-poohed the allegation that its officials take laws into their hands when they carry out their ‘’enforcement’’ exercises. The Lagos State agency has debunked this allegation stating that due processes of the laws are sine quanon before and during enforcement exercises.

The agency said before such exercises are done, affected agencies or companies are always fully notified ahead of time with due consultations and correspondences. It said LASAA normally goes out to carry out enforcements after exhausting all due processes, stating that most of the allegations are cooked up to “call a dog bad name before it is hanged”.


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