Expert Urges OOH Practitioners To Work Within Regulative Framework

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Outdoor-of-Home (OOH) Practitioners have been urged to understand the laws regulating the profession and work within their frameworks in a bid to grow the industry.

This was made known by Barr. CIC Chikwendu , in his presentation as the guest speaker, at the Annual General Meeting of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) held in Lagos recently.

He also urged OAAN to ponder whether the Lagos State Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) Law has not taken away the control and regulation of outdoor advertising function of the Local Government Council in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution under Section 7 (and Section 36 of the Administration of Local Government Law) and vested it in the LASAA.

The guest speaker who spoke on the topic: “OOH Business and Nigeria Regulatory Laws’ disclosed that in the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, advertising is not one of the matters mentioned in the body of the Constitution.  

“It is also not one of the matters mentioned in the Exclusive List on which only the Federal Legislature can legislate. It is also not one of the matters mentioned in the Concurrent List on which both the Federal and State Legislatures can legislate.  

“It is therefore one of the many matters called residual matters. The position is that State Legislatures may legislate on residual matters. The Constitution however places outdoor advertising and hoarding under the control and regulation of the Local Government Council.”

Taking a cursory look at the functions of Local Government Councils, Barrister Chikwendu said the functions conferred upon the Local Government Council include those set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. “By item 1 (k) (i) of the Fourth Schedule, one of the main functions of the Local Government Council is the control and regulation of outdoor advertising and hoarding.  

“Local Government Councils in all the States carried out this function of control and regulation of outdoor advertising and hoarding, albeit haphazardly, until 2006 when Lagos State introduced the Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency Law.  

He added: “Lagos State has seemingly succeeded in surmounting a legal challenge to this Law, many other States have copied and enacted similar Laws. The implication of this is that control and regulation of outdoor advertising in States have, at least for the present, been effectively removed from Local Government Councils and vested in State agencies in these States.  

Aside from this, the law expert explained further that the Advertising Practitioners (Registration, Etc.) Act (APCON Act) which came into force on 27th December 1988, save from determining and registering outdoor advertising practitioners as advertising practitioners, the regulatory powers of the Council under the Act appear not to extend to outdoor advertising.  

“The vetting which the Council does through the Standards Panel appears to be limited to the content of the advertisement. Outdoor advertising as I understand it does not involve content development or copywriting and so has nothing to be vetted by the Standards Panel. What appears on outdoor Billboards ought to have passed through the Standards Panel before getting to the outdoor advertising agency.

“It, therefore, appears that the outdoor advertising agency is the most exposed of all advertising agencies to external control and regulation by the Federal, State and Local Government agencies and their challenges with government agencies, outdoor advertising practitioners may have to stand alone as there is no provision in the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) Act that requires the Council be of assistance to them,” he explained.

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