The Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, has invalidated the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) authority to levy fines on broadcast stations for purported violations of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
This ruling stems from a case brought forth by the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) against the NBC, challenging fines imposed on a television station and three pay TV platforms in 2022. Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia declared the NBC’s fines null and void, emphasizing that the commission, not being a judicial entity, exceeded its jurisdiction in imposing such penalties.
The court commended MRA for contesting the NBC’s actions and issued a perpetual injunction preventing the Commission or its representatives from imposing fines on any media platform or broadcast station in Nigeria under the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Uche Amulu on behalf of MRA, argued that the fines were unlawful, unconstitutional, and posed a threat to media freedom, impacting the right to impart information and ideas. MRA also contested the procedural aspects, asserting that the NBC’s actions violated natural justice and the right to a fair hearing.