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NBC appeals judgment stopping imposition of fines on broadcast stations

 

The National Broadcasting Commission has filed an appeal against the ruling of the Federal High Court which dismissed the commission’s motion to set aside a May 2023 judgment restraining it from imposing fines on radio and television stations.

In a four-ground notice of appeal filed by NBC’s lead counsel, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN), it complained about the decision of the lower court while asking the appellate to set aside the earlier judgment.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Noah Ajare, in a suit instituted on behalf of Media Rights Agenda, had challenged the powers of the NBC to fine broadcasters, following the imposition of N500,000 fine each on 45 broadcast stations for alleged contraventions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in 2019.

Giving his ruling, Justice James Omotosho, held that only courts of law are empowered to impose sanctions for criminal offences, noting that NBC was “neither a court nor a judicial tribunal to make pronouncements on the guilt of broadcast stations notwithstanding the NBC Code, thereby violating the constitution.”

In its first ground of appeal, the NBC argued that Justice Omotosho erred in law when he refused to set aside the judgment, which it alleged, was demonstrated before him to have been deceitfully obtained on the ground that the commission was indolent and ought to have raised the objection in the substantive suit timeously.

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