1st July, 2010
Stakeholders in the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) have accused the embattled Managing Director of the Lagos State Advertising and Signage Agency (LASAA), Mr. Makanjuola Alabi, of rendering them bankrupt.
They alleged that most of them had died of health-related problems as a result of the high-handedness of the LASAA boss.
They accused Alabi of turning them into beggars by chasing them out of their sites and allocating same to his company, Altmedia.
One of the stakeholders, Chief Abiodun Adeniji, explained that before becoming LASAA boss, Alabi had no site in Lagos, ”but he now has the highest number of sites.”
Another OAAN member who identified himself as Chief Oyebolu, said he was thrown out of the profession by Alabi.
Chief Oyebolu, who had practised for about 25 years, was the Chief Executive Officer of Media Serve Limited. He disclosed that he had 77 sites in Lagos before Alabi came on board LASAA.
â€œLASAA under Alabi destroyed the 77 sites in July 2007 and since then I have not earned a kobo. I have been pauperized.
â€œBefore now, we knew that Alabi was not qualified for the job.
â€œBefore he was appointed, he had applied to OAAN for registration as a member but was not registered because from the CV he brought, it was discovered that he was not qualified.
”He was not even registered with the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), which is the overall regulatory body for advertising in the country.
â€œSo, he decided to take it out on OAAN members when he became LASAA boss,â€ he narrated.
He added that as a condition for registration with LASAA, the agency asked him to pay N3.5 million but he paid half a million naira.
Despite this, he disclosed that his sites were demolished and his money was not refunded to him.
â€œDuring retired Brig. Gen. Raji Rasakiâ€™s regime, we were using wooden boards and he told us that he did not want it again. He gave us a prototype of steel structure which everybody in the practice conformed with.
â€œThat is what LASAA was supposed to do, rather than determining who practices what in Lagos. Now, he has deprived me of my profession by insisting that he must determine who practices in Lagos.
â€œHe has even gone further to abuse his own office by making Altmedia the sole advertising company in Lagos.
â€œHe owns almost all the lamp posts in the state. He destroyed my sites, allocated them to himself and did not refund my money,â€ Chief Oyebolu narrated further.
Another practitioner affected by Alabi’s actions, Jide Akinpelu of Allankeen, said as part of the registration requirements with LASAA, he paid N4 million, yet his sites were taken over and his money was not refunded.
â€œI have to close down my office after paying N4 million for registration which was not refunded to me,” he stated.
The LASAA boss has, however, denied all the allegations.
He also denied trying to influence the decision of the state House of Assembly on the petition sent to it, as alleged by the Majekobaje Eko Integrity Group.
â€œMy brother, do not mind these people. They are only out to distract public attention from the facts. Do not let them distract your attention from the real issues.
â€œAs I am talking to you now, I am currently meeting with members of OAAN,â€ he said.