The Federal High Court, in Lagos, has extended its 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.
Recall that on 29 August 2022, Justice Akintayo Aluko, had granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on motion exparte by the 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 court for hearing yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Daniel Osiagor, 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 after the hearing of an argument by SERAP and NGE counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
SERAP and NGE had in August filed a lawsuit against President Buhari and NBC, asking the court for an interim injunction. In the suit, the duo 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 down their 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 debts.
SERAP and NGE had asked 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 the 53 broadcast stations and to shut down the stations, is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression”.