The attention of the Ogun State Signage and Advertising Agency has been drawn to a viral claim being circulated through a Facebook account that could be traced to one “Korede Coded” on the allegation of political intolerance and bias levelled against the Agency for removing illegal billboards of some political parties.
2. We want to state categorically that the falsehood is a calculated attempt to gain cheap popularity and curry public sympathy for whoever their sponsors are. The Ogun State Signage and Advertising Agency maintains a highly responsible system and accord due respect to democracy and fundamental human rights of citizens in the discharge of our constitutional duties.
3. We place high premium on our reputation as core advertising professionals and have delivered award winning innovations and quality services to the wonderful people of Ogun State and far beyond, thus the need to clear the air on this abuse of public space.
4. The activities of the Agency are regulated by the Ogun State Signage & Advertising Agency Law 2008. Section 24 of this Law makes it “illegal for any person to erect, construct, enlarge or structurally modify an outdoor structure or operate any structure for Signage or advertisement without first being registered by the Agency.”
5. It is pertinent to state that the rumour peddler with the aforementioned Facebook name does not understand the technicality involved in practice of advertising and he is in the habit of misleading the general public with lies. The same person falsely reported in November, 2022 that the Agency removed a billboard in Sango axis due to political reasons. However, the agency was vindicated when the apology letter tendered by the billboard owner was posted on his wall. To come up with the recent misinformation without verification of fact is quite unfortunate, to say the least.
6. Section 30 of the above cited Law equally states that “the Agency may make regulations providing for any matter for which provision appears to it to be necessary for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Law” It is on this basis that the Agency issued a letter dated 15th September, 2022, circulated to political parties in the state, with paragraph four (4) stating that “any infraction to the content will attract immediate removal of the affected materials and/or bitboards”.
7. Also, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) through the letter Ref. No. OGSAA/42/86 dated 7th December, 2022 with the title “Political Campaigns” was advised to inform members of the Association to pay all outstanding bills before any political campaign is displayed.
8. It is imperative to state that one of the billboards removed at Kemta was removed for non payment of prescribed fees contrary to specific order as contained in the two letters cited above. The other was removed as a result of falsification in clear contravention of Section 29 of the OGSAA Law which provides that “any person who violates any provision of this Law or who violates or fails to comply with any Regulation or Order, or falsifies plans or statements or information filed hereunder, or who continues to display a sign or billboard on any unauthorized surface whatsoever, is guilty of an offence”
9. The owners of the removed structures are quite aware of this fact and extant provisions of the Law. The Agency has been fair and considerate by not initiating further legal action(s) against the offenders. The purporter of the false claim should therefore take cognisance of this and refrain from such ill-reports capable of undermining the political peace presently being enjoyed in the State.
10. For further clarifications, copies of the Agency’s Law are available for public information. Please avail yourselves of its contents. Ignorance is no defence in Law
Fola ONIFADE, rpa
Ogun State Signage and Advertising Agency.