The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has reacted to an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja which restrained it from imposing fines on broadcast stations across the country.
Ruling in a suit filed by Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda, MRA, Justice James Omotosho, held that NBC lacked the power to impose fines on broadcast stations.
The judge voided the N500,000 fine imposed on 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019 on the grounds that NBC, not being a court of law, lacked such power.
According to the court the NBC Code, which vested the commission with the power to impose sanction, was in conflict with Section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which vested such judicial powers on the court of law.
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Justice Omotosho held the court would not sit idle and watch a non-juristic body, arbitrarily impose fine without recourse to the due process of the law.
Reacting, the NBC in a statement issued by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu llelah, said it had applied for a Certified copy of the judgment.
Ilelah said the commission would appeal against the judgment when found to be in conflict with previous judgments of the court, which “empowers the commission to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria.”
“The attention of the National Broadcasting Commission has been drawn to a ruling by the Federal High Court, Abuja nullifying the powers of the Commission to impose fines on broadcast Stations that violate the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”
“In view of the foregoing, the Commission has applied for a Certified copy of the judgment.
“It is global best practice and the ethics of the Legal profession, that no party to a suit can freely comment on a judgment it has not seen and read.
“The Commission will appeal against the judgment when found to be in conflict with previous judgments of the Court, which empowers the Commission to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria,” the statement read in part.