Olalekan Fadolapo, director-general of the Advertising
Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), says President Bola Tinubu did not order
the removal of the “all eyes on the judiciary” billboards in parts of the
On Tuesday, ARCON directed the removal of the billboards
sponsored by a group known as the Diasporas for Good Governance.
ARCON also dissolved its advertising standards panel for
approving billboards targeted at the presidential election petition tribunal.
Phrank Shaibu, an aide to former Vice-President Atiku
Abubakar, had described the development as an assault on freedom of speech.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH on Saturday, Fadolapo
said the agency’s decision was not influenced by Tinubu as being speculated in
He said the steps taken so far by the council, including the
suspension of the director and deputy director of regulations, are
“Our people are extremely biased. Now, this advert has
nothing to do with the presidency, I hope we all know this,” PUNCH quoted
Fadolapo as saying.
“These adverts have a
lot to do with the judiciary; it has absolutely nothing to do with the
presidency. I don’t know why they would say that the President asked us or the
presidency asked us to punish them. How will the presidency interfere with
“The presidency has not at any point in time interfered in
this issue. This is an administrative procedure. Someone erred and we looked at
it to confirm that they erred and you did not fire them. The easiest thing to
do is to give them a fair hearing and in the process of giving them a fair
hearing, we are asking them to please step down from the offices they are
occupying to be able to investigate properly.
“How does the presidency now come into this? The judiciary
is supposed to be the one that they will say is influencing us and nobody in
the judiciary has even made a statement on this.
“Don’t forget that there are other adverts worse than this
on social media that we are even trying to track and pull down, posting some of
these judiciary members’ names, their pictures on social media, and all of
that. This has absolutely nothing to do with the presidency; the presidency has
not interfered and I don’t think the presidency will interfere. The presidency
is dealing with so many things and they have given each agency the independence
to do their work.”
Fadolapo said the suspended officials would appear before a
committee that would review the entire process and that they would be given
fair hearing in the course of the investigation.
He said the council is taking “necessary actions” against
the billboard owners, adding that all outdoor organisations involved will be
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