Socio-Financial Rights and Accountability Challenge (SERAP), 261 involved Nigerians, civil society and media teams have filed a lawsuit in opposition to the Nationwide Broadcasting Fee [NBC] and Minister of Info and Tradition, Mr Lai Mohammed, asking the courtroom to “declare arbitrary, unlawful, and unconstitutional the N9m fines imposed on Channels, AIT and Come up TV [N3m each] over their protection of the #EndSARS protests, and to cease the NBC from amassing the cash.”

The co-plaintiffs within the swimsuit are 255 involved Nigerians; Premium Instances Providers Restricted; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Improvement; HEDA Useful resource Centre; Worldwide Centre for Investigative Reporting; African Centre for Media and Info Literacy; and Media Rights Agenda.

The appearing Director-Basic of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, who’s joined within the swimsuit as Defendant, had final week introduced fines of N9 million on Channels, AIT, and Come up TV for purported “unprofessional protection” of the #EndSARS protests throughout the nation.

However within the swimsuit quantity FHC/ABJ/CS/1436/2020 filed final Friday on the Federal Excessive Court docket, Abuja, the Plaintiffs are looking for: “an order setting apart the arbitrary, unlawful and unconstitutional fines of N9 million and every other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Channels, AIT and Come up TV, and on every other radio/tv stations merely for finishing up their skilled and constitutional duties.”

The Plaintiffs are arguing that: “Part (2)(n) of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code are oppressive, and clearly inconsistent with the Nigerian Structure and the nation’s worldwide obligations. If the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed are allowed to proceed to make use of these oppressive provisions in opposition to unbiased media within the guise of performing their statutory duties, the tip consequence will likely be authoritarianism and denial of freedom and liberty.”

In line with the Plaintiffs: “The NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed have constantly used broadcasting codes to suppress the watchdog roles of unbiased media, and to violate Nigerians’ human rights, together with the rights to freedom of expression, to disseminate and obtain info, and maintain their authorities and public officers to account.”

The Plaintiffs mentioned: “The motion by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed is bigoted, unlawful and unconstitutional, as it’s opposite to part 39 of the Nigerian Structure, Article 9 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified. Their motion is seemingly aimed to clampdown on media freedom and Nigerians’ human rights.”

The Plaintiffs are additionally looking for “an order setting apart the high quality of N5 million and every other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Nigeria Information 99.3 FM Lagos, merely for finishing up its skilled and constitutional duties.”

The swimsuit filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by their legal professionals Kolawole Oluwadare, Adelanke Aremo and Opeyemi Owolabi, learn partially: “A high quality is a prison sanction and solely the courtroom is empowered by the Structure to impose it. Advantageous imposed by regulatory companies just like the NBC with out recourse to the courts is illegitimate, unconstitutional and offends the sacred ideas of pure justice and equity.”

“It’s the responsibility of the federal government to permit the authorized and judicial powers of the state to perform correctly. Imposing any high quality in anyway with out due strategy of regulation is bigoted, because it contravenes the ideas of nemo judex in causa sua which accurately means one can’t be a decide in his personal trigger and audi alteram partem which accurately means nobody ought to be condemned unheard.”

“The NBC, being a regulatory physique, is just not empowered by regulation to behave because the prosecutor and the decide; all on the similar time. We humbly urge the courtroom to put aside the illegal and unconstitutional fines imposed on unbiased media homes, and to uphold the sanctity of the Nigerian Structure, Nigerians’ human rights, media freedom, and the rule of regulation.”

“The Structure is the grundnorm and the basic regulation of the land. All different legal guidelines together with the NBC Act and any related codes take their hierarchy from the provisions of the Structure.”

The Plaintiffs are additionally looking for the next reliefs:

A DECLARATION that part 2[n] of the NBC Act and Broadcasting Code utilized by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed to impose fines, sanctions and every other penalties on tv, radio and on-line broadcast stations and media homes are draconian, inconsistent, and incompatible with the precise to freedom of expression, entry to info, and media freedom assured underneath sections 22 and 39 of the Structure of Nigeria 1999 [as amended], Article 9 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

A DECLARATION that the motion of the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed in counting on part 2[n] of the NBC Act and Broadcasting Code to unilaterally impose punishments similar to fines and different sanctions on tv, radio and on-line broadcast stations and media homes with out recourse to the courtroom violates sections 6[1] & [6][b] and 36[1] of the Structure of Nigeria 1999;

A DECLARATION that part 2[n] of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code, being inconsistent and incompatible with sections 22, 36[1], and 39 of the Structure of Nigeria, Article 9 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency and incompatibility;

A DECLARATION that the high quality of N3m every imposed on Channels, AIT, and Come up TV by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed for his or her protection of the #ENDSARS protests violates the precise to freedom of expression, entry to info and media freedom assured underneath sections 22 and 39 of the Structure of Nigeria 1999, Article 9 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and due to this fact null and void;

A DECLARATION that the high quality of N3m every imposed by NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Channels, AIT and Come up TV for his or her protection of the #ENDSARS protests with out giving the affected media homes the chance to reply to the allegations leveled in opposition to them and recourse to the courtroom violates sections 6[1] & [6][b] and 36[1] of the Structure of Nigeria 1999 and due to this fact null and void;

A DECLARATION that the motion by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed to unilaterally impose the high quality of N5m on Nigeria Information 99.3 FM with out giving the radio station the chance to reply to the allegations leveled in opposition to it violates the precise to honest listening to, enshrined in part 36 of the Structure of Nigeria 1999, and due to this fact null and void;

AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed from imposing fines or doing something in anyway to harass Channels, AIT, and Come up TV and every other radio and tv broadcast stations, in violation of the part 6[1] & [6][b], 22, 36[1], and 39 of the Structure of Nigeria 1999, Article 9 of the African Constitution of the on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

No date has been mounted for the listening to of the swimsuit.

Vanguard





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