The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) has finally instituted the long-awaited legal action against the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), over what it described as a breach of the constitutional and legal rights of ADVAN and her members.
Disclosing this in a press briefing at its Head Office in Lagos, on 19 October, 2023, Osamede Uwubanmwen, President of ADVAN, said the move for legal action was sparked by the provisions and operations of the enacted Advertising Regulatory Act.
Recall also that in a recent interview with MARKETING EDGE, the ADVAN president had confirmed that the suit was inflamed by provisions and operations of the enacted Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act, No. 23 of 2022, published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Gazette No 120 of 5th July 2022, Vol. 109, Government Notice No. 87 with the commencement date of 27th day of June, 2022.
He attested that this same document was sent to the apex advertising regulatory body, requesting its interpretations to sections of the law, while promising to institute legal actions against the Regulatory Council upon the expiration of the deadline of its request for the agency to give interpretation to some sections of the law.
Although the seasoned marketer revealed that ADVAN is not against the entire law, but has picked out about 50 items to the council for interpretation
Noting that ARCON’s laws violate the rights of advertisers and also stand as a restriction to freedom of contracts, the President explained that his association had to seek further interpretation of the laws from legal experts. This was to enable them know the line of next action, which, he noted, was legally confirmed to be contravening the constitution.
The ADVAN leader affirmed that his association has finally dragged ARCON to court but, that the regulatory body has not yet responded to the suit.
“We are also law abiding brands and so hold the Nigerian Constitution to the highest esteem. On the new ARCON law, we have done a lot of dialogue. You guys were here about 5 months ago and there was this conversation that ADVAN had gone to court. I told you guys that I have not gone to the court. If I go to court, I will tell you. So, I am telling you now officially that we have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the law – because the law is supreme,” he said.
“Quite frankly from our own research, there is a bit of the constitution that has advertising and we know where it sits. It does not sit where it is currently being handled. We also feel that things like contractor agreement, an agreement between two parties, which is enforceable by law, allows two parties to sit and meet. It cannot be legislated upon. People cannot be told when to pay, how to pay, and what to pay,” the ADVAN boss noted.
He mentioned that regulations should be geared towards promoting the growth of the industry through canvassing for professionalism and not to stunt its growth
“The reason you regulate communication, in my own view, is to ensure that harmful contents are not displayed. When it leaves that and becomes a revenue driver in which the essence of regulation becomes fines, taxation, things you don’t even have capacity to talk on, that does not work for us,” he concluded.