Media Worth insists on court pronouncement in litigation against JC Decaux …Hearing resumes today

The proposed overtures by JC Decaux to settle out of court with Media Worth Advertising agency for alleged illegal usurpation of its strategic billboard in Lagos may have suffered a setback.

The hearing in the suit continues today at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos. It will be recalled that Media Worth advertising had instituted a legal action at the Federal High Court Lagos seeking redress for alleged usurpation of billboard site at Oworonsoki area of Lagos by the local partner of the global Out-of-Home agency.

Media Worth outdoor company is asking the court to award it a whopping sum of One Billion naira only (N1billion) as damages for the alleged infringement by JCD on its billboard site.

The Nigerian Outdoor company said the alleged illegal incursion by the Paris multinational company on its space has caused disruption on its operations, resulting in loss of businesses. The local billboard agency plantiff also blamed JCD for its recent decision to disengage 22 members of its staff, as the company could no longer meet up with overhead expenses in the face of dwindling revenue.

Our checks revealed that MediaWorth, which is now the complainant has recently been at the receiving end of JCD alleged illegality in Nigeria. Established in 1994, MediaWorth has over time made huge investment into its outdoor operations in the country. But the company now faces a bleak future following JCD’s takeover of its site in Lagos.

In a statement of claims obtained by MARKETING EDGE, it was revealed that sometime in 2012, Media Worth had embarked on strategic sites hunting and found the Oworoshoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge suitable for a proposed digital electronic billboard. It immediately applied to Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) for approval.

But LASAA in a letter dated 18th October, 2011 referred MediaWorth to 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. The Nigerian agency received an approval on 12 March 2012 and was asked to pay N2 million to the federal government coffers.

MediaWorth made the payment and began mobilising men and materials to the site. But not long after it commenced construction on the site; the Nigerian company received a stop work order from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and later Ministry of Town Planning and Urban Development, citing public safety concerns.

While MediaWorth was still in the process of getting the controversial order lifted, it was gathered that LASAA revoked the approval initially granted. At this stage, according to court papers filed by MediaWorth, it had invested over N150 million. The Nigerian agency also claimed it is still indebted to the tune of $100,000 to its technical suppliers.

MediaWorth also said that after the alleged illegal revocation of its site, armed policemen invaded the property to destroy its erected structures. It also stated that the site has been illegally hijacked and handed over to JC Decaux to construct an LED board in the guise of public safety.

However, JC Decaux had in a counter affidavit deposed before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, initially claimed to have gotten necessary approvals from relevant government agencies including the Federal Ministry of Works.

However, upon discovering that the Federal Ministry of Works, which is the first defendant in the case denied issuance of approval to any advertising firm other than MediaWorth, J.C Decaux recanted and claimed it acted in error and therefore did not have FG’s approval. By law, only the Federal Ministry of Works can give approval for right of way on Oworoshoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge and Federal Highways across Nigeria.

Realizing that it might have erred on the side of law for illegal occupation based on the facts that had been presented before the court by the plantiff, JCD made an overtures to Media Worth for out of court settlement. Our investigations revealed that although the plantiff was not so convinced about JCD’s sincerity, it nevertheless gave it a benefit of doubt.

Consequently, a meeting was said to have been arranged for the purpose of allowing top managements of the warring factions to meet and deliberate. It was alleged that at the meeting, which obviously was not attended by the Managing Director Chief Executive of JCD in Nigeria. Mr. Ladi Delano, the plantiff tabled all its demands before his representatives.

Although there was to be a hearing of the case in furtherace of the trial Monday, January 21st, 2019the hearing was adjourned till today 3rd April, 2019. But in between the last hearing and now, the overtures and meetings between the two parties have achieved no result, prompting Media Worth to insist that it will see to the diligent prosecution of the case in court.

A top management executive of Media Worth that spoke with MARKETING EDGE yesterday evening vowed that “it will not be deceived to abandon the case as it does not appear that the defence team are “honest” and “sincere” in their overtures”.

According to our source, “we are going ahead with the case against JC Decaux, because we have seen from all practical purposes that JCD team is not ‘honest’ and ‘sincere’ in its overtures’, adding that nothing would stop Media Worth from diligent prosecution of the case till the court makes its final pronouncements.

Besides, the source noted that, “since the last time they met us, we have not heard anything again from JCD, and our business is in ruins. Why should we be the one running after a foreign company that has put us in crisis” the source lamented.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.