ARCON Blows Hot, Dissolves ASP, Orders Immediate Removal Of ‘All Eyes On The Judiciary’ Ad, Investigation
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has ordered the immediate removal of the “All Eyes on the Judiciary” advertisements exposed on some billboards across the country, errors in the approval process by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP).
In a statement signed by its Director-General, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the apex advertising regulatory body also announced the dissolution of the ASP Secretariat, noting that it failed to “diligently exercise its function as the gatekeeper of advertising, advertisement and marketing communications” and is “hereby dissolved.”
According to ARCON, the panel erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed vetting guidance on the following grounds: “The cause forming the central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Hence, its just pendis”
“A matter being jus pendis and awaiting judicial pronouncement is by virtue of the Nigerian legal system precluded from being subject of public statement, debate, discussion, advertisement, etc. The advertisement is controversial and capable of instigating public unrest and breach of our public peace,” the statement read. Further noting that the Advertisement is considered blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, ARCON noted, “the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and particularly the Honourable Justices of the Tribunal who are expected to discharge their judicial functions without fear or favour over a matter that is currently just pendis” the statement reads.
In a related development, the council also announced the suspension of the Director and Deputy Director, Regulations of ARCON to enable what it called an “unprejudiced investigation of the issue.” The statement read, “The council will set up a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the erroneous approval of one of the concepts of the inappropriate advert and the breach of the vetting guidelines.”