By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—The All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, described threat by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP, Kayode Aderanti, to arrest any individual or agency who removes posters or billboards of political parties, as capable of generating crisis, if political parties decided to paste their billboards on unauthorised designations.
In a swift reaction to the CP’s statement, the party’s spokesperson, Joe Igbokwe wondered why the CP decided to go ahead to bring the issue to the public domain, having had a prior meeting with the General Manager of the Lagos Synergy and Advertising Agency,LASAA, where he said the state’s position on pasting of posters and billboards of any kind was made known to him.
He said: “Having heard from the MD LASAA and thereafter still went ahead to address a press conference threatening to arrest officials of the agency is unbecoming for anybody that is privileged to be a Commissioner of Police.
“There is an existing law in Lagos regarding placements of adverts . You do not just wake up and start pasting adverts anywhere. You must seek permission from the statutory agency . As a rule, LASAA does not allow posters to be laid on major highways. Majority of those billboards you see are owned by private investors.
“What the Commissioner of Police failed to tell them is that posters can be placed on the streets but not on major roads because they deface the aesthetic nature of our roads. Even APC does not place adverts on major roads.
“ I don’t want to say that the CP is becoming partisan but he should understand that this is Lagos.”
Meantime, the management of the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASSA, has expressed determination to defend and continue with its lawful duty of removing illegally pasted posters within the metropolis.
It will be recalled that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, had earlier said the police would henceforth arrest staff of the agency who attempt to remove any billboard or poster of candidates of the various political parties even if such was illegally deployed.
Reacting to the statement, the Managing Director of LASAA, Mr. George Noah, yesterday, vowed that the agency would not shy away from carrying out its statutory responsibility of removing election campaign materials indiscriminately placed at unauthorized places in the state.
Noah said that the removal of posters that deface the environment is a statutory obligation of LASAA, adding that it will be unlawful for the police to arrest any LASSA staff for carrying out their lawful duty.
He maintained that the agency had published guidelines for deploying electoral materials in four national dailies in addition to a town hall meeting it convened with all the political parties where the guidelines were presented to them.
According to Noah: “Let me state clearly that the removal of posters that deface our environment is a statutory obligation of LASAA. The agency is therefore baffled that the Nigerian police responsible for enforcing the laws of this nation is by the statement encouraging and expressly supporting the flagrant disregard and contravention of environmental guidelines issued to all political parties.”