MediaWorth seeks N1billion damages from JC Decaux in legal suit

There may be no end in sight for the series of legal battles confronting JC Decaux Nigeria, a global outdoor company, operating in Nigeria. Reason?

MediaWorth, a local outdoor advertising company has again instituted a legal action at the Federal High Court, Lagos seeking redress for alleged usurpation of bill board site by theglobal Out-of-Home (OOH) agency.

MediaWorth is asking the court to award it a whopping N1billion as damages for the alleged infringement by JCD on its billboard site.

The Nigerian outdoor company said the illegal incursion of the French multinational agency on its space has caused disruption on its operations, resulting in loss of businesses. MediaWorth also blamed this 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.

According to industry sources, JC Decaux has since its entry into Nigeria resorted to various unethical business practices which are against global best practices or even the relevant law of the land. The company aided by its access to funds and deep ties with government has been able to outmuscle local operators and shut them out of potential business opportunities.

According to a report on COMPLETENEWS, an online news platform, 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 COMPLETENEWS, 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 commence 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.

Meanwhile, JC Decaux 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.

Interestingly, MediaWorth is not the only Nigerian OOH agency engaged in a legal tussle with JCD, the French company has also been dragged to court by Moving Media for alleged usurpation of site. While the multinational company also has a pending court case with Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN).

The next hearing for the MediaWorth vs JCD court case comes up on Monday, January 21, 2019.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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


    No comments found.