The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has dissolved the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Secretariat for failing to diligently exercise its function as the gatekeeper of advertising which led to the approval of an advertisement “All Eyes On The Judiciary” exposed on some billboards across the country.
The Council in a statement signed by the Director General, Dr.Olalekan Fadolapo said the concepts exposed were not approved by the Advertising Standards Panel hence the Council has directed that all the materials being exposed be brought down immediately and the violators sanctioned.
He added the Council will set up a Committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the erroneous approval of one of the inappropriate advertisements and the breach of the vetting guidelines.
“Consequently the Director and Deputy Director Regulations have also been suspended.”
The suspension according to the Council is to enable unprejudice investigation of the issue.
Fadolapo explained further that Advertising Standards Panel of the Council erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed vetting guidelines because the cause forming the central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, hence it’s jus pendis.
“Also a matter being jus pendis and awaiting judicial pronouncement is by virtue of the Nigerian legal system, precluded from being a subject of public statement, debate, discussion, advertisement.”
He also added the advertisement is controversy and capable of instigating public unrest and breach of public peace.
“This is considered a blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, the Presidential Election 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 jus pendis,” it stated.