30 November 2018

Nigeria: Borno Govt Begins Removal of 'Unlicenced' Campaign Posters, Billboards

The Borno State Urban Planning and Development Board (BOSUPDB) on Thursday, announced a 'full-scale war' on all 'unauthorised' commercial billboards, signposts and campaign posters mounted on the streets of Maiduguri, the state capital.

The board said the recent destruction of such illegally mounted posters, billboards on structures and spaces, which generated negative reaction from some politicians, "was done in accordance with laws of the state."

The board said it will sustain the exercise and possibly prosecute violators of the law concerning mounting of bill boards and signposts in public places.

A statement issued by the board on Thursday and made available to the media indicated that the exercise had already commenced.

This is coming days after the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of destroying its campaign posters and billboards using members of the government established Borno Youth Empowerment Scheme (BOYES), otherwise known as Civilian-JTF.

This allegation was however denied by the Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaka-Shehu Lawan.

The official was accused of supervising the destruction of the opposition parties billboards. In defence, he said the demolition exercise was carried out by the BSUPDB and not the Civilian-JTF that operates under his office.

The General Manager of BSUPDB, Umar Bulamami, said the pulling down of unauthorised billboards had nothing to do with "politics of political parties".

Hee said the board had given enough notice for all advertisers - both commercial and political - to comply.

"This has nothing to do with political party or government," Mr Bulamai told PREMIUM TIMES.

"By law that established the Borno State Urban Planning and Development Board, the Section 43 subsection 3 requires that one must obtain approval from the board before erecting of billboards or sign posts.

He said such approval can only be given after such person or organisation has presented a receipt for the payment of fee charged to the state revenue board.

Mr Bulamami said it was on that note that the board on September 24 issued a statement warning residents against mounting billboards and campaign posters without following the due process.

"BSUPDB is an independent government agency and our mandate is not only to plan for the development of the township, but also to generate revenue for the state," he said.

"When we saw that the political activities have started we had to quickly remind those concerned with mounting billboards and posters for campaign of what is expected of them. We did write to all of them, including even the APC that they must comply by our rules."

He said the APC in Borno State complied and paid N700,000 which covers for all the spaces they would incur by mounting their posters and billboards within and around Maiduguri.

"And on 9th October, 2018 we granted them the approval via a letter referenced BSUPDB/TP85/VOL.I/223 in which we specified all the terms of reference and warned against going beyond all the spaces for which they applied. We have all the records and copies of the document we can share with you," he added.

The GM said the law is only applied to places and structures that belong to the public and not private properties.

He said the exercise is not restricted to political parties alone.

"Just recently, on the 27th November we had to write to a private advertising company, Gams Advertising Agency, that is responsible for the mounting of billboards for commercial companies to remove some of the billboards mounted around Post Office area, and we gave the company 7 days which will expire by the next week," he explained.

"It was on that note that we issued a circular dated 29th November, 2018 reminding them of our earlier warning and that we have resolved to commence the removal of all billboards and signposts which had not obtained our approval," he added.

He said all relevant government and security agencies had been put on notice and issued copies of the statement.


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