The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) under the leadership of Mr. Osamede Uwubanmwen, the President, has officially gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the amended Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Law. The Ministry of Information as the oversight ministry has also been included in the suit.
Making this disclosure yesterday at a press conference held at the association’s office in Lagos, Mr Osamede revealed that the move comes after a thorough and deliberate consideration of the law’s implications for the advertising industry and its members.
He added that ADVAN views this legal action as an essential response to safeguard the interests of its members and the integrity of the marketing profession in Nigeria. The decision to challenge the ARCON Law is rooted in the organization’s unwavering commitment to upholding the Nigerian constitution and ensuring the rule of law prevails in the country.
He stated, “We do not take this matter lightly because we are law-abiding brands that hold the Nigerian constitution in the highest esteem. The ARCON Law, as it stands, has raised concerns that need to be addressed. We have engaged in numerous dialogues and consultations, and we want to clarify that while there were discussions suggesting that ADVAN had already gone to court, that was not official. We can now confirm that we have indeed taken the matter to court to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
“The Nigerian constitution is a revered document, and any amendments to it must adhere to a stringent process that involves approval by two-thirds of the Senate and the House of Assembly in Nigeria. After a thorough examination, ADVAN has identified certain aspects of the ARCON Law that appear to be in conflict with the constitution. This includes the handling of marketing and advertising within the constitution and the regulation of contractual agreements between two parties. The organization believes that such agreements should not be legislated upon but should remain within the realm of enforceable legal contracts.
Mr. Uwubanmwen further explained, “The purpose of regulating communication is to ensure that harmful content is not displayed, and when it transforms into a revenue-generating mechanism, it contradicts the essence of regulation. This is especially concerning for corporate entities operating in Nigeria.”
He also pointed out that the law could potentially have detrimental effects, including the ability to jail Managing Directors for six months and the authority to open notebooks. ADVAN believes it is its duty to seek legal clarification on these matters to protect the interests and rights of its members.
“ADVAN has taken a proactive approach by engaging in over a year of dialogue and consultations with relevant stakeholders. The decision to take the matter to court is seen as the next logical step in resolving the concerns raised by its members.
Mr. Uwubanmwen concluded, “We are the leaders in our industry, the most trained and experienced. Our members have insisted that we explore all avenues of dialogue. As an organization committed to upholding the rule of law, we now turn to the court for guidance. We hope that the court will carefully examine the aspects of the law in question and determine whether they are consistent with the Nigerian constitution. We believe in the wisdom of the court, and we have taken this step in the best interest of our industry and our members.”