APCON Reads Riot Act to Illegal Advertising Practitioners


Raheem Akingbolu

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, (APCON) has begun enforcement of illegal practitioners and unlicensed organisations infiltrating the outdoor advertising industry in Nigeria.

The enforcement, which, commenced couple of months ago has moved to military cantonments and police barracks across the Nigeria. Sources said the military establishments have demanded a month for those who own advertising hoardings within their barracks to secure all the necessary documentations from their sectoral body that is Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria.

It is on record that Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, (LASAA) does not regulate out-of-home (OOH) with these military and police establishments. It is believed that the illegal practitioners and unlicensed organisations have taken advantage of this to operate within these areas unchecked.

But this could not have happened without the connivance of Media Independent Practitioners of Nigeria (MIPAN) member-organisations’ support hence the APCON decision to write the body.
Therefore, MIPAN has been cautioned to desist from patronising unlicensed organisations as well as non-practitioners.

In a letter titled-Practice of Non Licenced Persons and Companies and duly signed by the APCON Registrar/Chief Executive Officer , Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi with reference number (CLD/03/Vol.1/080/2016 dated 12th October 2016 was sent to the MIPAN President, Dr. Ken Onyeali-Ikpe.

The strong worded correspondence said “We wish to bring to your attention the practice by some of your member-companies who engage the services of non-registered/licenced persons and organisations and the purchase of advertising media space/airtime from such unregistered/unlicensed persons and organisations.”

APCON reminded MIPAN of its responsibility as a key stakeholder in promoting growth within the Nigeria’s integrated marketing communications industry by supporting true and registered practitioners and organisation.

According to the letter: “It is a violation of Nigeria Advertising Law and Regulation for persons not registered as advertising practitioners and organisations not licensed as advertising firms to practice advertising for gain and undertake the business of advertising.”
The Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc) CAP and Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 , Part IV, Section 17 and 18 refers.

Kankarofi further said that while the Council is doing its best to stem out the nefarious activities of and/or sanction these unlicensed organisations as well as non-practitioners, MIPAN member-organisations should hence stop patronising them.

“While we are doing our best to identify and sanction persons/organisations that practice/undertake the business of advertising illegally, we wish to request your cooperation by impressing it on your member-organisations to desist from dealing with non-practitioners/unlicensed organisations in their media purchase transaction,” Kankarofi warned Onyeali-Ikpe.

To achieve this, APCON advised MIPAN members to ensure recourse is made to verifying the registration/licence status of persons/organisations that approach them for advertising business transaction.

Sources at APCON said, APCON wants all practitioners to register with the Council and all organisations to join different sectoral groups such as Outdoor Advertising Agencies of Nigereia (OAAN), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and MIPAN etc.

Investigations have revealed that the out-of-home industry has been on the receiving end of this MIPAN member-organisations romance with these unlicensed organisations and non-practitioners.
Besides practicing illegally, most of these people have gone ahead to set up sites where they are not registered.

Competent source in MPIAN reveal that some of the Media Independent agencies prefer to deal with non-practitioners and unlicensed organisations because of the volume of discount they get from such transactions.

But it is usually short-term because at the end the law will always catch up with such transactions. “I hope we will all behave ourselves,” the source who pleaded anonymity said.
APCON has began enforcement of pulling down all illegal advertising hoardings in Lagos and other part of the country.

When asked the Secretary General of OAAN, Mr. Femi Ogala of his view of the recent development, he said “It is a welcome development to the industry and it has once again reinforces the regulator’s willingness to clean up the system for growth and sustainability.”
“We at OAAN are in support of this move and I believe MIPAN member-organisations welcome it too,” Ogala said.