UPDATE: NBC Stripped of Power to Fine Broadcast Stations

BREAKING: Court Stops NBC From Imposing Fines On Broadcast Stations

by Victor Ndubuisi
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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been barred from punishing broadcast stations in Nigeria with fines by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The court issued a permanent injunction on Wednesday prohibiting NBC from penalizing broadcast stations throughout the nation going forward.

Justice James Omotosho’s ruling nullified the N500,000 fine that was issued separately on 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019.

List 302 Sanctioned Stations, MRA Requests NBC

The judge ruled that NBC lacks the authority to punish broadcast stations since it is not a court of law.

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He said that the NBC Code, which grants the commission the authority to issue sanctions, conflicts with Section 6 of the Constitution, which provides the court of law the exclusive right to exercise judicial authority.

According to him, the NBC Code does not give the commission any judicial authority.

According to Justice Omotosho, the court would not do nothing while a body imposed fines arbitrarily and outside the bounds of the law.

“This will go against the doctrine of separation of powers,” he said, describing the action of the respondent as “excessive”.

The Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda sued NBC, seeking a determination that the commission’s sanctions mechanism, which involved fining each of the 45 broadcast stations N500,000, was against the principles of natural justice.

#EndSARS Protest: What PDP Said About NBC Fine On Channels TV, AIT, Arise TV

In another incident, Newsmen reported on Monday that Justice Nkeonye Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja had authorized MRA to bring two separate lawsuits against NBC.

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MRA filed a lawsuit against the Commission after it allegedly refused to respond to the group’s requests for information about the level of independence allegedly granted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari and specifics about the 302 broadcasting stations it claimed to have approved in the four months following the start of the 2023 election campaign in September 2022.

This is stated in a statement by Media Rights Agenda’s communications officer, Idowu Adewale (Mr.).

According to the report, Justice Nkeonye Evelyn Maha gave MRA permission to ask the court to order the NBC to provide it with the information it requested after hearing arguments from the organization’s attorneys in two separate ex parte motions in which it alleged that the Commission had ignored two requests for information – the first dated February 17, 2023, and signed by Ms. Maimuna Momoh, a program officer at MRA; and the second leaked in April of that same year.

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