Court dismisses firm’s application seeking to stay proceedings
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos has dismissed the application filed by JC Decaux Nigeria outdoor Advertising Limited against the Incorporated Trustees of Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), challenging irregularities surrounding its (JC Decaux) registration to operate as a corporate advertising practitioner in Nigeria.
The judge while dismissing the application held that he had carefully considered arguments of counsel to OAAN and JC Decaux Nigeria outdoor advertising Limited.
In a suit filed by Mr. Adekunle Tuyo of Bakersfield Associates, counsel to the Incorporated Trustees of OAAN marked FHC/L/CS/249/18, he is seeking an order of the court to declare that JC Decaux Nigeria Outdoor Advertising Limited was not validly incorporated in Nigeria.
Other respondents in the suit are Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). JC Decaux Nigeria is the third defendant in the suit.
OAAN alleged that there are illegal incursion into the Out-of-Home Media subsector of the Nigerian economy by individuals and companies not validly incorporated under the laws of the country.
Claimant stated that it is exercising its powers as a regulator of outdoor advertising practice in the country.
Also the claimant stated that it has the responsibility to defend illegal incursions into the industry, especially by corporate organizations, both local and foreign that are currently doing business in the country illegally and with utmost impunity.
OAAN therefore alleged that JC Decaux was illegally operating in the country, contrary to the provisions of extant laws of the land, notably provisions of the Companies & Allied Matter Act. It had therefore prayed the court to declare that JC Decaux cannot practice outdoor advertising in the country.
The OAAN prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining APCON from issuing a license or other authorization to JC Decaux Nigeria Outdoor Advertising Limited so as to prevent it from illegally practicing the profession or business of outdoor advertising in Nigeria, on account of its invalid incorporation in the country.
However JC Decaux Nigeria had through its counsel, Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), filed a Motion on Notice, requesting for a stay of proceedings by the court on the premise that the suit is an abuse of court process.
His motion was brought pursuant to Order 56 Rule (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009, Sections 9 (2) and 11 of the Federal High Court Act.
He urged the court to stay proceedings in the suit, so as to allow JC Decaux conclude its registration processes with the CAC.
The JC Decaux further averred that the OAAN suit was in bad faith, as the association does not suffer any direct damage by JC Decaux’s practice.
But, the trial judge refused the request for stay of proceedings, dismissed the application and awarded costs of N30, 000 against it.