SERAP sues Buhari, NBC over threats to revoke broadcast stations’ licences

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission for allegedly threatening to revoke the licence of broadcast stations in the country and shut them down over their coverage of the 2023 general elections.

Joined in the suit as a defendant is the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

The NBC had last week reportedly sanctioned 25 broadcast stations and issued ‘final warnings’ to 16 others for allegedly violating provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections.

But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/469/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to determine whether the broadcasting code used by NBC to sanction some broadcast stations and threaten to shut down others is not in inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.

The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers: Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke.

In the suit, SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that the sanctioning of some broadcast stations and threat by the NBC to revoke the licences and shut down other stations for their lawful coverage of the general elections is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.

However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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