You Lack Power To Impose Sanctions On Broadcast Stations, Court Tells NBC

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A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has barred the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, from imposing fines on broadcast stations in Nigeria.

The Court on Wednesday gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining NBC from imposing fines on broadcast stations in the country.

In his judgement, Justice James Omotosho voided the N500,000 fine imposed individually on 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019.

The judge said NBC is not a Court of law, and therefore, lacks the power to impose sanctions, as punishment on broadcast stations.

He described the NBC Code, which gives the commission the power to impose sanctions, as being in conflict with Section 6 of the Constitution, which vests judicial power in the Court of law.

He said the NBC Code does not confer judicial powers on the commission.

Justice Omotosho asserted that the Court would not sit idle and watch a body impose fines arbitrarily without recourse to the law.

“This will go against the doctrine of separation of powers,” he said, describing the action of the respondent as “excessive”.

The Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda had sued NBC, seeking a declaration that the sanctions procedure applied by the commission in imposing a fine of N500,000 on each of the 45 broadcast stations was a violation of the rules of natural justice.

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