The Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) has urged the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) to reconsider plan to commence removal and destruction of billboard structures in some parts of Kaduna metropolis.
The association in a statement signed by the General Secretary, Mr. Sola Akinsiku said such an act, if allowed, would be counter-productive both to the State and to the owners of the billboard structures whose investments in the state would be affected.
According to him, the association’s request is for the state to put on hold pending a mutual resolution of all the issues between KASUPDA and all relevant stakeholders, notably members of OAAN, the Media Independent Practitioners Association (MIPAN) and the Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN).
“It is to be noted that at a recent meeting with the leadership of KASUPDA, we were informed that the planned exercise was in line with the urban renewal policy of the Kaduna State government, to replace all existing static billboards in Kaduna metropolis with LED platforms.”
He added: “Our position at the meeting was that, while government was free to make policies as deemed necessary, such should consider the interest of stakeholders; the firms currently doing business in the affected areas and who have invested hundreds of millions of Naira on such billboard structures.
“We still believe that this is the acceptable, decent and investment-friendly approach to be taken by KASUPDA. And, as agreed at the meeting, KASUPDA should initiate a stakeholders meeting that will include our members, to mutually agree on the way out.
Akinsiku explained further that such a move as canvassed above is all the more expedient now, considering that their members got approval from the same KASUPDA before they installed the structures that it now wants to remove.
“The fact is to be stressed that while we are not opposed to government’s efforts at environmental renewal, the billboards are not illegal structures. They were installed upon proper approval. It is also important to note that the structures cost a lot of money to fabricate and install,” he stated.
The association therefore advised that Kaduna State is reputed for being investment friendly; it was recently rated very highly as one of the states in Nigeria known for ease of doing business. Thus, this plan by KASUPDA, if allowed without the buy in of all the critical stakeholders, will call to question the sincerity and genuineness of such rating.
“KASUPDA should therefore, hold on, allow for the proposed stakeholders engagement and buy in, which will also bring about mutual understanding and agreement on the best ways forward.
“Advertisers and their media buyers, for instance will need to rework their engagement in the affected locations; and billboard owners will have enough time to sort out a number of issues, including make good arrangements for running campaigns and how, more importantly, ensure the safety of their structures,” he added.