ADVAN to Take Legal Action Against FG for Violation of New Advertising Regulations

Advertisers under the aegis of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria are set to sue the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria over its controversial advertising regulations.

ADVAN President, Osamede Uwubanmwen, made the disclosure when he spoke in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday.

Uwubanmwen said legal action had become necessary after all necessary channels aimed at resolving the impasse with the regulatory council failed.

According to him, ADVAN’s contention hinges on the fact that the newly introduced advertising law is in breach of Nigeria’s constitution, and therefore unacceptable to practising advertisers.

He further stated that if allowed to stand, the new advertising law would infringe upon the fundamental human right to enter into legal contract with another party.

He said, “With the ARCON pronouncement, we are going to court for interpretation. We want to know if they can do this, because the Nigerian constitution we know is telling us so many things. For example, setting up a panel and giving us a retired judge as head, cannot work because the person cannot do pronouncement again.

“The constitution allows me to do legal contract. For ARCON to say it wants to be involved and do my contract for me doesn’t make a sense. Let me tell you why this is happening.”

Uwubanmwen said the association had already drafted 50 questions challenging the legitimacy of the new advertising law, and would seek the interpretation of the court on some of its controversial provisions.

Leaning on a recent court judgment which reversed fines imposed by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission on some broadcast stations, Uwubanmwen questioned ARCON’s right to impose fines on penalties, as entrenched in the new ARCON Act.

He further criticised the regulatory council for not engaging stakeholders during the drafting of the new advertising law.

On his part, the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Olalekan Fadolapo, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the new ARCON law was not in breach of the constitution.

He said the ARCON law was borne out of the need to sanitise the advertising industry and rid it of the underhanded practices that had stifled its growth for a long time.

Fadolapo said, “My question to them is — which part of the constitution? It is not enough to say it is against the constitution. You should be able to specifically said — this section of the constitution. You should be able to pin it. The spirit and the letter of the constitution is equity, fairness and justice.

On the claim by the advertisers that the new law would see ARCON dictate terms of payment negotiated by advertisers and their clients, which in effect violates their fundamental human right to enter into legal contract with other parties, Fadolapo said that the idea behind that particular provision of the law was not to intrude, but to ensure fairness to all parties involved.

He added, “There has not been any time ARCON said it wants to be at the negotiation table to discuss when to pay, what to pay or how to pay. They should not mislead the public. Should we, as a government agency allow them to ruin the industry? Look at what is happening in other markets. They pay within a maximum of 45 days.

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