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May 8 for hearing of suit by advertising agency     


[FILES] A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

A Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed May 8, 2019 to hear all pending applications in a suit filed by a Nigerian advertising firm, Media Worth against an acclaimed world’s biggest advertising firm, JC Decaux for allegedly hijacking an approved outdoor site of the local firm.

Justice Saliu Seidu fixed May 8 for hearing of all the applications filed before the court, as the parties represented by their counsel informed the court of their applications.  
                        These pending applications include JC Decaux’s preliminary objection, in which it argued that the act of LASAA revoking the approval granted to Media Worth ought to have been challenged within three months when the revocation was purportedly done. Also, Media Worth’s response to JC Decaux’s objection amongst other applications would be heard at the next adjourned date.

JC Decux was charged alonside Lagos State Signage And Advertising Agency (LASAA), Federal Ministry of Works and the regulatory agency for outdoor advertisement in Lagos as respondents in the suit.The claimant (Mediaworth) in the suit, is praying the court to award damages exceeding N1 billion against defendants for alleged disruption of its business and illegally trampling on its rights.                                

The claimant averred that, sometime in 2012, it went on strategic sites hunting and found Oworoshoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge suitable for a proposed digital electronic billboard. The local firm approached LASAA, the regulatory body for approval.LASAA had in a letter dated 18th, October, 2011 advised Media Worth to approach the Federal Ministry of Works, which is statue-empowered by the virtue of Federal Highways Act to grant approvals for right of way on Federal roads.

Consequently, an application was made on 22nd, February 2012 by the local advertising firm to the Federal Ministry of Works. “On 12th, March 2012, approval was granted amongst other requirements, which included payment of N2 million to the federal government coffers. The approval fee was paid. Strangely, as soon as Media Worth mobilized men and materials to site, there was a stop work order from Lagos State Ministry of Environment and later Ministry of Town Planning and Urban Development citing public safety concerns.”This interference according to outdoor agencies breached normal laid down procedures for regulation of billboards in Lagos State.The claimant stated that it had invested over N150 million and indebted to the tune of  $100,000 to its technical suppliers.

MediaWorth alleged illegal revocation of its site, adding that armed policemen went to the site to destroy its erected structures.It therefore claimed that the site was illegally hijacked from them under nebulous guise of public safety and was handed over to JC Decaux to construct LED board similar to what Media Worth was erecting before demolition. JC Decaux in an affidavit claimed to have gotten necessary approvals from relevant government agencies including the Federal Ministry of Works.

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JC Decaux
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