By Ibrahim Sulaiman
Several advertising firms have jointly petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over unpaid advert bills running to about N900 million owed by the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and Lagos State government for their failure to pay the said amount for placement of Buhari/Osinbajo campaign billboards in Lagos state, DAILY NIGERIAN can report authoritatively.
The development is sequel to a petition to the anti-graft agency by the aggrieved advert companies who had fought tenaciously to recover their funds using all avenues but to no avail.
In the build-up to the 2015 general elections, Lagos streets were taken over with the APC campaign billboards, managed by dozens of advertisement companies, just as the move even blocked all other advert placements from other political parties including the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
One of the advertisers who does not want his company’s name in print told DAILY NIGERIAN that they had to resort to the anti-graft agency after the ruling APC and the Lagos State government failed to listen to their matter.
“Lagos State government and the APC refused to heed to our demands. The party said it does not have money, while current Lagos State governor refused to settle the money on the ground that the liability was not incurred under his administration,” laments one of the advertisers.
DAILY NIGERIAN further learnt that the state government during the tenure of Babatunde Fashola had provided the initial advance payment of the contract totaling over N1 billion.
It was further learnt that the advertisers may resort to the Office of the Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, including litigation in a court of competent jurisdiction, if the EFCC does not to take appropriate action in recovering the money for the advertisers.
Recall that on August 17, journalists covering APC said they would embark on protest against the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, over the party’s failure to paid the indebtedness to their respective media outlets.
The debt running into over N25 million cut across various national newspapers covering the party, and they include Thisday, Punch, Daily Trust, Blueprint, Guardian, The Nation, The Sun, Vanguard, Leadership, among others.