The Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) says it remains committed to its responsibility and the dictates of the law without being partisan.
A statement on Thursday in Lagos, quoted the Managing Director, Prince Ademola Docemo, as giving the assurance.
It was in reaction to allegations made by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate in Lagos, Mr. Olajide Adediran, against LASAA.
Adediran had allegedly accused the agency of removing his campaign posters and instructing outdoor advertising agencies from not to fly his campaign materials.
He also allegedly claimed that the Lagos State Government instructed outdoor advertising practitioners to reject materials from opposition parties.
The PDP candidate had alleged that his advertisement materials were brought down midway into a contract.
According to the statement, however, the candidate’s allegation did not show an understanding of the rules guiding outdoor advertisement practice in Lagos.
It said that LASAA regulates billboard structures and not advertisement campaigns.
“The decision to deploy any advertisement is the sole discretion of billboard owners who must have registered with LASAA for a licence to hoist advertisement structures in the State.
“Advertising companies determine their clients and the terms of their trade,” the statement reads.
It clarified on the pasting of posters, when political campaigns are formally flagged off in accordance with INEC guidelines.
According to the statement, when this is done, pasting of posters, rather than being done indiscriminately, must be done at designated sites.
“The guidelines will be enforced without prejudice against any political party, association or aspirant,” it said.
The Managing Director of Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Mr Adedamola Docemo, said the Agency would concession seven roads in the state for Out-of-Home advertising to boost the integrated marketing communications space.
Docemo told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos that the concession of the roads would attract more investors and funds to the advertising industry.
The outdoor advertising space in the state is regulated by the LASAA.
The roads earmarked for concession in the state include Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Isheri LASU Road, Ikorodu Road, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Road, Awolowo Road and Western Avenue.
He said the bidding process was opened to only members of Advertising Practioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) both within and outside the country.
“It is true that seven corridors are offered for concession and it is a bidding process, which is open to all parties that are advertising practitioners.
“All practitioners are invited every month for the bidding. The concession is strictly for advertising practitioners who are APCON registered.
“There is no party in the process that is not APCON registered.
“The essence is to enhance investment and make the corridor open for long term investors who are players in the international market.
“So, they can bring foreign investors and also secure funds for the industry and allow international players into the industry,” he said.
However, the plan to concession some major roads in Lagos State to investors does not sit well with some marketing communications professionals and advertisers.
According to them, the plan if implemented, will have adverse effects on the industry, making some members lose their jobs.
The practioners spoke under the aegies of the Heads of Advertising Sectoral Group (HASG), in Lagos, against the backdrop of recent onslaught against Out-of-Home Advertising platforms by the Lagos and Kaduna State governments.
They called on LASAA and Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) to urgently review their relationship with members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) to ensure a conducive environment for their businesses to thrive.
Speaking on behalf of HASG, Mr Steve Babaeko, President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), told journalists that fixing of fees payable on billboard platforms by LASAA was arbitrary.
The group also condemned the agency’s compulsory payment of advert permit fees when there were 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.
“We also observed that LASAA has continued to grant individuals that are not registered practitioners to own billboards and operate in Lagos State, that is contrary to the APCON guidelines.
“This, we also know is eroding APOCON’s regulatory functions, just as it is promoting charlatanism in the advertising industry in the country,” it said.
According to the group, LASAA’s plan to concession seven 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.
It, therefore, called on Gov. Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the agency to shelve it.
“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 this will ultimately lead to increase in the cost of engaging Out-of-Home media platforms by advertisers.
“If 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,” it added.
The group also noted that, the larger advertising industry would be adversely affected, as rates would go up, and advertisers would seek cheaper alternatives including moving on to the social media platforms.
On issues in other state, it said KASUDA gave billboard owners seven days to remove their structures from certain areas of the city.
According to media executives, the reason by KADUSA was that the affected areas are to now be populated by electronic billboards known as LED.
It, however, alleged that while discussions were still ongoing between OAAN and KASUPDA, the state pulled down billboards structures, prevented the owners from recovering them and sold them off.
“We have since found out that the whole essence is to allow some favoured business owners 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.
“The HASG wishes to caution both LASAA and KASUPDA as well as those other states that might be planning such acts as highlighted above, that they are acting illegally and that they will end up creating more problems for the industry.
“HASG wishes to inform all the states that this Group will not hesitate to issue a boycott instruction to all advertisers against any state that engages in such infractions as have been committed by LASAA and KASUPDA,” the association stated.
Chief Jude Emecheta, immediate past managing director of Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) initiated and prosecuted about 5,000 cases against clients between 2014 and 2022.
Emecheta told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Wednesday that the law establishing ANSAA was responsible for the huge number of cases.
He said ANSAA law was an adaptation of Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) which did not consider the differences in the economies of the two states.
He called for review of the ANSAA Law and strengthening of its operations to make it more viable.
“In the last eight years, we were able to market ANSAA to Anambra people, we made them know the agency and understand the need to pay signage fees to the state government.
“We had about 5,000 court cases and won all but the law establishing ANSAA did not consider the economy of Lagos where a head dresser in Mushin or Ikotun both suburbs cannot be rated with a head dresser in Ozubulu or Mgbakwu.
“So what we need now, is for the governor to empower ANSAA and rejig the law to make it take cognisance of Anambra economy which is not at par with Lagos where the existing one was imported from,” he said.
Emecheta said ANSAA was able to regulate activities of outdoor Advertising firms and sanitised the Anambra sky space.
He said about nine Light Emission Diodes worth about N750 million were attracted to Anambra inspite the electricity and other operational challenges.
The Advertising Expert said the agency could generate as much as N1 Billion internal revenue for Anambra if optimally explored.
“Before now, clients used to compete for one spot but we decentralised all that engendered positive competition in the industry.
“ANSAA was voted as the best State Owned Agency in Nigeria for 20202021; so I am fulfilled that I had the opportunity to serve.
”The agency is now a beautiful bride in Anambra, we are only second to maybe LASAA of Lagos which has critical mass for revenue generation.
“This is an agency government can rely on for a large part of its internal revenue earning, though the pandemic, EndSARS and insecurity since 2020 have really hampered our ability to meet our projections,” he said.
Source Credit: NAN