The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday restrained President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from revoking the licenses of 53 broadcast stations in the country and shutting them down for allegedly failing to renew their operating licenses.
The suit followed the decision by the NBC to revoke their expired licenses and shut down their operations within 24 hours and an alleged N2.6 billion debt.
In an issued statement signed by the General Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Iyobosa Uwugiaren, and the Deputy Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Kola Oluwadare, the two groups said that the presiding judge, Justice Akintayo Aluko, granted an order of interim injunction, after listening to the argument on ‘Motion ex-parte’ by the by the NGE and SERAP.
The court also stopped the Federal Government from shutting down the stations.
Recall that SERAP and NGE had last week filed a lawsuit against President 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 and access to information”.
SERAP and NGE, in the suit, had asked the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining Buhari and NBC, their agents from revoking the 53 broadcast stations licenses and shutting their down operations pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed contemporaneously in this suit”.
The duo 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”.
The suit was adjourned to 8th September, 2022 for the hearing of the ‘Motion on Notice’ for interlocutory injunction.