NBC Appeals Judgement Stopping Imposition Of Fines On Broadcast Stations

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has appealed the November 23, 2023, ruling by Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja, which restrained it from imposing fines on radio and television stations.

Justice Omotosho had dismissed a motion by the Commission praying him to set aside his judgment delivered on May 10, 2023.

In a Notice of Appeal filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Babajide Koku, the NBC is asking the Appellate Court to set aside the ruling and the judgment delivered on May 10, 2023.

In a four- ground notice of appeal, the NBC says it was against the entire decision of Justice Omotosho.

The May 10 judgment arose from a suit instituted by an Abuja-based lawyer, Noah Ajare, on behalf of Media Rights Agenda, MRA, challenging the powers of the NBC to fine broadcasters, following a March 1, 2019 announcement by the NBC that it had imposed a fine of N500,000 each, on 45 broadcast stations for alleged contraventions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

In the May 10 judgment, the Federal High Court had ruled that fines are sanctions imposed on a person who has been found guilty of a criminal offence, and that under the law in Nigeria, only courts of law are empowered to impose sanctions for criminal offences.

In setting aside the fines of N500,000 each, imposed on the stations, Justice Omotosho held that the NBC was neither a Court nor a judicial tribunal to make pronouncements on the guilt of broadcast stations notwithstanding what the NBC Code says.

He added that the Commission’s action violated the Constitution.