By Chimezie Anaso
Awka (NAN) Six hundred and fifty violators of Anambra signage law were prosecuted between July and December 2016, the Anambra Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) said on Wednesday.
The Managing Director of ANSAA, Mr Jude Emecheta, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that 400 of the offenders were arraigned in Awka, while 250 were in Onitsha.
Emecheta said that 342 other offenders settled out of court with the agency and paid their bills, while 168 were issued bench warrants for non-appearance in court.
He expressed disappointment that big firms in the state, including multinationals were in the habit of evading the payment for signage and advertisement fees.
The managing director said the agency recovered millions of naira from the evaders, adding that efforts were being made to ensure that business concerns in the state pay signage and advertisement fees.
“Before now, big companies had evaded signage and advertisement fees, but with the agency’s introduction of prosecution of offenders, the story has changed.
“The agency was able to recover millions of naira from these companies, while some of them who were summoned choose to pay even before going to court.
“But some of them are bent on not performing their statutory duties to the state. We will continue to go after them.
“In Onitsha, people were surprised because that was the first time such a measure was adopted to enforce payment. It brought mixed feelings but yielded a positive result,” he said.
Emecheta said the agency will not relent on the new approach to realise more revenue and surpass the success of 2016.