Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila

By Femi Ogunshola

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has rallied support for a bill seeking to repeal the Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON) Act in line with the present reality.

The Speaker made this known at a two-day public hearing on a bill for an act to repeal the Advertising Practitioner Act on Wednesday in Abuja.

The public hearing was organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Value on Wednesday in Abuja.

Other bills being considered for an amendment include a bill for an act to amend the National Broadcasting Cap to strengthen the commission and make it pay all monies into the federation account.

The speaker said that stakeholders, lawmakers and citizens had a responsibility to make sure that the legislation that would emerge from the process was of the highest quality.

He said that they should ensure that the outcome was in the best interest of Nigerians and should not impose liabilities on them.

He stated that it should not create the conditions that would allow for infringements on the human rights of the citizenry.

According to him, each of the bills under consideration seeks to significantly alter the statutory framework of media, advertising and intellectual property regulation in Nigeria.

“If these bills become law, they will influence the creation of media content and determine the contact of advertising, regulate free speech and establish institutions that will impact our country for generations to come,” he said.

Rep. Olubunmi Segun, the Chairman, House Committee Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Value said that the public hearing was to collate stakeholders’ views before amending the Act.

He said that the bill was aimed at strengthening APCON and make it more effective thereby encouraging openness in its operation.

He said that there was a need for the sincerity of purpose and the will to build a virile nation through the amendment of the bills.

Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, the Registrar, APCON, urged the lawmaker to endorse the creation of an offences tribunal, adding that it would help in no measure to restore sanity in the system.

Mr Femi Adelusi, who represented the Advertising Sectoral Group, noted that there was a need for stakeholders to have representation on the APCON Governing Council Board.

He said that only the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) is currently the only member of the council, adding that this did not represent the industry.

According to him, this is outdated and not in the interest of the marketing communications industry in Nigeria.