Court extends order stopping Buhari, NBC from shutting down 53 broadcast stations
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on September 8, 2022
The Federal High Court in Lagos has extended the order stopping President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from revoking the licenses of 53 broadcast stations in the country and shutting down the stations for allegedly failing to renew their licenses.
Honourable Justice Akintayo Aluko on 29 August 2022 granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on motion exparte by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
The order was granted pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.
When the case came up before the hearing today, Justice Aluko extended the order of interim injunction pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice and adjourned the case to 26th October 2022 for the hearing of the originating summons.
The Court extended the order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument by SERAP and NGE counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN.
SERAP and NGE had in August filed a lawsuit against Buhari and NBC, asking the court for;
a declaration that section 10(a) of the Third Schedule to the NBC Act used by NBC to threaten to revoke the licenses of 53 broadcast stations and to shut down the stations is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression.
In the suit, SERAP and NGE had asked the court for;
an order of interim injunction restraining Buhari and NBC, their agents from revoking the licenses of 53 broadcast stations in the country and shutting their down operations, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.
The suit followed the decision by NBC to revoke the licenses of the 53 broadcast stations and shut down their operations within 24 hours over alleged N2.6 billion debt.
In the suit, SERAP and NGE are asking the court to determine;
whether section 10(a) of the Third Schedule to the NBC Act used by NBC to threaten to revoke the licenses of 53 broadcast stations and shut them down is not inconsistent with freedom of expression and access to information.
SERAP and NGE are also seeking;
a declaration that section 10(a) of the National Broadcasting Act used by NBC to unilaterally revoke the licenses of the broadcast stations and shutdown the stations is a violation of the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to a fair hearing.