The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) has called for an amendment of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) Act, which it deems inadequate as a regulatory legislation for the numerous strands of the practice.
AAAN made the call on Wednesday in Abuja during the public hearing of a bill to amend the APCON Act organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.
The bill, sponsored by Hon. Hakeem Adeniyi Adeyemi, seeks to wreak major changes in the extant APCON legislation.
In its submission, titled “Review of the Bill for an Act to Amend the Advertising Practitioners (Registration Etc) Act CAP A7, LFN 2004,” AAAN called for the establishment of the Advertising Regulatory and Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria to replace APCON.
AAAN contended that the proposed replacement for APCON will provide sufficiently broad coverage of every advertising practice in the country, irrespective of whether persons or organisation involved are registered.
The advertising body specifically noted that the inclusion of “Regulatory” and “Practitioners (Registration)” in the name of the proposed council will confer on it the duty to regulate any form of advertising in the country and the powers to establish the code of practice.
AAAN also noted that the proposed council will ensure a non-repeat of a litigation in which the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against APCON in a suit filed by MIC Royal Limited, with the court holding that the plaintiff was not a registered advertising practitioner and not under the APCON Act.
AAAN also demanded the establishment of a seven-man governing board to be appointed by the president and chaired by a distinguished fellow of the profession; an officer of the Federal Ministry of Information, not below the rank of a director to oversee the council; and three persons from the general public to represent public interest.
“The entire members of the Governing Board shall be appointed by the President. This is a fundamental deviation from the provision of the principal act where the president appoints only the Chairman, the Minister appoints nine persons and the Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria elects ten persons.
“The twenty-man council in the principal act is reduced to a seven-man governing board. The core advertising sectors will have only two representatives in the seven-man governing board. The overseeing Ministry will have one representative. The public representative will be three. AAPN is mentioned instead of AAAN,” AAAN stated in its submission.
It explained that the proposals are in the overall interest of the industry, which deserves to be adequately represented in view of its professional capacity.
Mr. Jenkins Alumona, AAAN’s Vice President, stated that the association led by Steve Babaeko, the President, is convinced that the new act will force out quacks from the advertising industry.
“The advertising industry and the Nigerian business environment will be the greatest beneficiary of this change. We need to end the use of the advertising space to sell lies in the guise of advertising. Under the current law, non-practitioners can get away with placing unvetted and unprofessional advertising messages in the media. This must stop and the new law will ensure this,” Alumona said.