The Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Rivers State, Tete Inamati, has faulted the way billboards are sited and erected in the state.
Inameti who spoke with The Tide in a telephone chat yesterday, stated that billboards are sited indiscrimately in the city particularly the residential areas.
The town planner in his reaction to the destruction of properties caused as a result of felled billboards during the recent rainstorm in Rivers State noted that ‘‘ you don’t install billboards, especially. the gigantic ones near residential buildings’’.
He went further to say that often times these billboards are installed without control from relevant agencies.
According to him, ‘‘when you make recommendations to the government on the right thing to do, the local Government just comes in and does what it wants and we cannot control them’’.
Inameti explained that billboards have standards and speatications with structural drawings before they can be installed, saying, ‘‘that is why we should work with Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (DOAN) so that we make sure that some of these things are properly installed.’’
Additionally, he stated a properly installed billboard should not be brought down by a storm, ‘‘ if that happens, then it was done shodily.”
He observed that, recommendations are not adhered to when the relevant agencies and professionals are not involved and money has been paid to the local or state governments who look the other way and allows the billboard owners do what they desire as, ‘‘ no one goes back to supervise the erection of the billboard’’.
He also said, there are no restrictions even on the erection of billboards on the highways, where some billboards are installed to block on coming vehicles such that the motorist does not see the opposite side of the road.
The town planner noted with regret that, ‘‘ there is no restriction, Federal Government used to control billboards on Federal high ways and they still do have the right to control, but the political divide is not allowing things to be done as they should be’’.
He advised, that relevant agencies and professional bodies should work in synergy in the establishment of billboard sites in order not to arbitrarily install billboards, while stating that installation of billboards should be supervisel by a competent engineer and not an artisan.