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NBC asks court to set aside judgment restraining it from imposing fines on Broadcast Stations

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has filed a motion at a Federal High Court in Abuja asking the court to set aside its May 10, 2023 judgment in which it, among other things, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commission from further imposing fines on radio and televisions stations.

In the motion filed on its behalf by Mr. Babatunde Ogala (SAN), the Commission is asking the court to set aside the judgment, claiming that the court lacked jurisdiction to render the verdict and that it arrived at the decision in ignorance of relevant facts.

The judgment arose from a suit instituted by Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Noah Ajare, on behalf of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), challenging the powers of the NBC to fine broadcasters, following a March 1, 2019 announcement by the then Director General of the Commission, Mallam Ishaq Kawu, that the Commission had imposed a fine of N500,000 each on 45 broadcast stations for alleged contraventions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

In his judgment delivered on May 10, 2023, Justice James Omotosho ruled that fines are sanctions imposed on a person who has been found guilty of a criminal offence and that the law in Nigeria, only Courts of law are empowered to impose sanctions for criminal offences. In setting aside the fines of N500,000 each imposed on the stations, he held that the NBC “is neither a Court nor a judicial tribunal to make pronouncements on the guilt of broadcast stations notwithstanding what the NBC Code says,” adding that the Commission’s action violated the Constitution.

But contrary to the finding of the judge in his judgment that the NBC “was served with the Originating Summons on 24th February, 2022 and served with several hearing notices but failed to file any process”, the Commission is alleging that the originating summons in the suit, which led to the judgment, was not served on it.

It is also claiming that MRA “has two un-appealed, subsisting and binding decisions of the Federal High Court on the same issues and parties” and that rather than appeal those decisions, it brought a fresh suit, setting the Court on a collision course with decisions of the other Federal High Court in the same complex.

The NBC cited in support of its claim a suit filed by MRA in 2021 against the NBC in which the organization challenged the constitutionality and legality of the Commission’s action on May 27, 2020 in imposing fines of N250,000 on Breeze FM radio, based in Lafia, Nazarawa State; N500,000 on Adaba FM radio in Akure, Ondo State; and N250,000 on Albarka FM radio in Ilorin, Kwara State. Justice Obiora Atuegwu Egwuatu delivered judgment on March 2, 2023, dismissing the suit.

It also cited another suit brought against NBC by seven organisations, namely the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), MRA, HEDA Resource Centre, the International Centre for Investigating Reporting (ICIR), the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), and Premium Times. In that suit, the seven organizations challenged the NBC’s imposition of fines of N3 million each on Channels Television, Arise Television and the Africa Independent Television (AIT) over their coverage of the ENDSARs protests as well as another imposition of a fine of N5 million on Nigeria Info 99.3 by the NBC without giving the stations an opportunity to respond any allegation against them. Justice Nkeonye Maha delivered judgment in the suit on April 26, 2022, dismissing the suit.

The NBC is claiming that these suits and their outcome was not brought to the attention of court and that if the court had been aware of them, it would have reached a different decision in its May 10, 2023 judgment.

Justice Omotosho has fixed hearing of the motion for October 5, 2023.

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Police Probe US Businessman’s Sudden Demise in Lagos Hotel

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– US-based businessman Onyejekwe Izuchukwu found dead in Lagos hotel
– Police investigation underway to determine cause of death
– Autopsy to be performed to reveal more details

The Lagos State Police Command has launched an investigation into the sudden death of Onyejekwe Izuchukwu, a 62-year-old US-based businessman. Izuchukwu’s body was discovered in his hotel room in Ikoyi on June 9, 2024.

According to a source, Izuchukwu had been staying at the hotel since June 6, engaging in business activities. Tragically, his lifeless body was found by a cleaner on the floor of his room.

The hotel’s management reported the incident to the police, who have commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Izuchukwu’s death. A doctor was called to the scene and confirmed the businessman’s demise.

Izuchukwu was a prominent figure in the oil and gas industry, having served as President of Bits and Drilling Tools, a division of Schlumberger. His death has sent shockwaves through the industry.

“The command has commenced an investigation into the case,” said Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin. “Izuchukwu’s corpse has been deposited in a morgue in Ikeja for autopsy.”

 

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Lagos Govt Opens Emergency Center To Curb Cholera Outbreak

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– Lagos activates emergency centre to combat cholera outbreak
– UNICEF urges provision of clean water and sanitation facilities
– 350 suspected cases reported with 17 confirmed and 15 deaths

Lagos State Government has activated its Public Health Emergency Operations Centre to tackle the cholera outbreak. The centre will coordinate responses to the increasing number of severe gastroenteritis cases across the state.

According to Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health, the laboratory investigation has confirmed Cholera sub-type O-1, associated with more severe disease. He urged residents to adhere strictly to precautionary measures to prevent further spread.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has called on the state government to provide high-standard water and sanitation facilities to communities. Celine Lafoucrier, Chief of UNICEF Lagos Field Office, emphasized the need for strengthened healthcare systems to respond to outbreaks.

Lafoucrier stated, “Addressing cholera outbreaks requires a deliberate focus on providing high-standard water and sanitation facilities.” She also stressed the importance of community engagement strategies to halt transmission.

The state government has confirmed 350 suspected cases of cholera in 29 wards across multiple LGAs, with 17 confirmed cases and 15 deaths. However, the number of new cases is subsiding in previously affected areas due to interventions and surveillance efforts.

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