The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Musa Bello, has stopped the construction of what could become the largest billboard in the world. The project was being handled by Lona Global Resources.
The billboard, which is being constructed to serve as a side attraction, is located along the ever-busy Abuja Airport Road by Lugbe interchange. Approval was earlier given for its installation in April 2017.
The Backstory: What prompted the halting of the project
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Umar Jibrin, had faulted the Department of Outdoor Advertising and Signage’s (DOAS) decision to approve the initial location of the billboard.
The original site for the construction was located at the area mapped out for the new city gate.
The world’s largest billboard being worked on in Abuja as a side attraction, hasn’t gone up because FCT authorities oppose the site it was first given, saying it is within the area of a new city gate. The advertising company is in N800m debt. It’s a Guinness World Record attempt. pic.twitter.com/2ngvQeQY9U
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) April 9, 2019
Why Lona Global Resources chose the site
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Lona Global Resources, Idoko Ilonah, they opted for the location to compliment the aesthetic ambience of the proposed new city gate. They were also targeting technical feasibility and projected profitability.
Recommendation for a new site
Following the disapproval of the initial site for the location of the billboard, a new plot along the Airport Expressway/Wawa (Centenary District), has been recommended.According to Mr Ilonah, after securing the new approval, installation work on the billboard commenced almost immediately.He also disclosed that his company expended N800 million on the complete design and fabrication of steel and other items. This is why he was shocked when the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory ordered the work to stop again
Why the new order to stop work?
Ilonah added that the new order was informed by a letter of complaint to the FCT Minister from the management of Centenary City Plc, promoters of the Centenary City project. The company is objecting to the new location of the billboard. The argument is that the erection of the billboard would obstruct the view of the city.Trouble hauls for Lona Global ResourcesDue to the failure to install the billboard, Lona Global Resources has been unable to meet its financial obligations to the financial institution that provided it a N300 million loan. It is also in having contractual troubles with Globacom due to the telco’s inability to use the billboard.