Buhari, NBC, Others Dragged To Court Over Plan To Close 53 Broadcast Stations.
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have instituted a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over “the arbitrary use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code to threaten, revoke and shut down 53 broadcast stations in the country for failing to renew their licenses.”
Joined in the suit as Defendant is the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed.
NBC had last week revoked the licenses of the 53 broadcast stations and threatened to shut down their operations within 24 hours over alleged N2.6 billion debts.
The regulatory body of broadcast stations in a statement asked the stations to pay all outstanding license fees on or before August 23, 2022, or shut down by 12 am on August 24.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1582/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, the NGE and the SERAP asked the court to determine whether section 10(a) of the Third Schedule to the National Broadcasting Act used by NBC to threaten, revoke the licenses of 53 broadcast stations and shut them down is not inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression and access to information as contained in the 1999 constitution as amended.
In a statement by the General Secretary of the NGE, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, and the Deputy Director, SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, the two groups asked the court for a declaration that section 10(a) of the Third Schedule to the National Broadcasting Act used by the NBC to threaten to revoke the licenses of 53 broadcast stations and to shut down the broadcast stations is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates the freedom of expression.”
The NGE and SERAP are also seeking an order of interim injunction restraining them, their agents, or privies from revoking the licenses of 53 broadcast stations in the country and shutting their own operations, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.