The Chairmen of the local government councils in Akwa Ibom state have rejected the bill to regulate outdoor advertising platforms from the Akwa Ibom State Assembly House, arguing that it would trample the rights of local governments and completely abandon its provisions. of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and subsequent amendments).
Speaking at the public hearing in the state assembly complex on a bill to regulate outdoor facilities and advertisements in Akwa Ibom state and other related matters; the Chairmen, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Akwa Ibom Chapter, the Hon. Iniobong Robson said Nigeria’s local government councils are constitutionally authorized with regulatory power for external structures and advertising.
He said that despite the House of Representatives’ powers to legislate for local governments and the state, attempts to enact external regulatory structure and publicity laws in local governments are against the constitution and will be void to that extent.
Mr. Robson, who is also executive chairman of the Esit Eket Local Government Council, cited the superiority of the country’s constitution, arguing that the control and regulation of outdoor advertising is the sole responsibility of the respective local government councils.
He expressed his dismay at the move by the Ministry of the Environment to violate the powers conferred by the constitution on local government councils of Nigeria. He threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone attempting to act outside the local government councils or its agents. authorized. in the state.
However, ALGON state Chairmen Akwa Ibom suggested that since they are all working together for the good of the state, the state environment ministry officials should contact the council chairpersons and find a way forward on this matter.
He also urged the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly not to bother considering the bill which aims to ensure that no one creates or operates a billboard or advertising agency without being a member of a recognized advertising organization or obtaining permission. by the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of the Environment, as it does not comply with the constitution.
Previously, the Vice-Chairman of the Environment Commission of the Chamber of Deputies; Mr. Mark Esset, who chaired the event, assured everyone present that issues and suggestions raised during the public stakeholder hearing will be considered at the committee level before a report is sent to the House. He said that the differences of opinion, as observed during the exercise, accentuate democratic practices.
Other Council Chairmen who also attended the event are Barr. Etetim Onuk; Itu, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo; Uyo and his counterpart from Ukanafun Local Government Area; Pastor Godwin Inyieng.