The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) is standing by its president, Mr. Osamede Uwubanmwen, in the ongoing dispute with the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) over alleged misinformation about new vetting fees.
In a statement released yesterday, ARCON had accused Uwubanmwen of “misleading the public” and “maliciously maligning” the agency by stating in a recent interview that ARCON had instituted a N3 million vetting fee for advertisements. ARCON claimed this fee was actually a “deterrent fee” aimed at discouraging foreign production of ads targeting Nigerian audiences.
However, ADVAN insists that Uwubanmwen simply relayed factual information based on ARCON’s own public notice about new vetting rates. According to ADVAN, this notice clearly listed “Advertisement Vetting (Special Category)” at N3 million, with no designation as a deterrent fee.
“There was no where in the notice ARCON released that it was stated as a ‘deterrent’ fee, nor had ARCON previously informed anyone that the amount was a ‘deterrent’ fee,” ADVAN said. “It was simply listed alongside all other vetting fees and quoted as Special Category vetting.”
ADVAN maintains that its president did not actually mislead the public or misrepresent the facts as presented by ARCON itself.
“Mr. Osamede Uwubanmwen did not misinform the public or misrepresent the issues,” ADVAN said. “He stated the facts as presented to the public by ARCON.”
The advertisers association argues that ARCON is at fault for publicly classifying the N3 million fee under its updated vetting rates without proper context or explanation that it was meant as a deterrent.
“ARCON owes Mr. Uwubanmwen a public apology for issuing such a contentious statement against him, when clearly they had classified the 3 million fee under new vetting rates,” ADVAN said.
The association maintains he simply relayed the regulatory body’s own advertised vetting rates, which did not specify that the N3 million fee was a special deterrent as now claimed. ADVAN insists the fault lies with ARCON for failing to properly communicate the context and intent of the controversial fee in its public notice.