A coalition of the Lagos State Government, outdoor practitioners and human rights activists on Thursday protested the decision of the federal government to suspend all approvals for the use of its right of way for advertisements on federal roads in the state.
The protest, led by the Managing Director of Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Mr. George Noah, began at about 12p.m. at Ikeja, matched through Mobolaji Bank Way and terminated at Maryland.
The protest brought together thousands of aggrieved outdoor practitioners and workers of different advertising agencies from the state, thus demanding the reversal of the federal government’s ban on federal roads in Lagos.
The protesters comprising engineers, architects, painters, printers and dryers among others displayed diverse placards with such inscriptions as “No to FG’s intimidation; don’t destroy outdoor business; enough of impunity; we say no to lawlessness; the law must be obeyed; outdoor business is dying and enough is enough.”
Addressing the aggrieved practitioners at Maryland, the Managing Director blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the federal government’s suspension of all approvals for the use of its right of way for advertisements in the state, which he described as an absolute act of impunity.
He said the federal government’s impunity was what aggrieved practitioners to protest the illegalities, which he said, existed in outdoor business in Lagos State, thereby condemning the suspension in absolute terms.
Noah said: “It is unfair. It is inconsiderate. It is illegal. We represent the people of Lagos State by virtue of the fact that the law gives LASAA the authority to control and regulate outdoor business in this state. We shall continue to fight for the right of all practitioners and all those who are involved in outdoor business in Lagos State.
He said the protest was the beginning of the battle against impunity and illegalities against the people of Lagos State, noting that the federal government could not come “to Lagos State with impunity and disrupt the business of honest hardworking people. They toil day and night to make sure they make a decent living.”
He added that the state government had decided to seek redress in the law court, insisting that the matter would be pursued “to a logical conclusion. If we need to settle it in the law court, we will. If they have sense, they should retrace their steps and the outdoors business in Lagos alone.
“There are outdoor agencies in Lagos State that we regulate. We have lost more than N350 million as a result of this impunity being perpetrated by the PDP. The outdoor practitioners are opposed to impunity in Lagos State. They are opposed to people that will cause unemployment in this state.
“Lagos residents are opposed to people that will disrupt their business. The firms that were affected are Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant and Globacom. They have cancelled the contract on Third Mainland Bridge because one political party went and placed its advert side by side with their adverts after they have paid for those streetlight poles.
“It is bad business. It is at a time when we are trying to encourage foreign investments into this country. They are sending bad signals to foreign investors because what they are trying to tell them is that they can come to Nigeria and even when you sign contracts, a government can come or a political party can come and decide that it is not about the contract you signed.
“They are opposed to people that will disrupt their business in this state. Some of the affected companies are Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant and Globacom. They have cancelled the contract on Third Mainland Bridge because one political party went and placed its advert side by side with their adverts after they have paid for those streetlight poles.”