A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application by the National Broadcasting Commission seeking an order to set aside its judgment restraining the commission from imposing fines on broadcast stations in the country.
The Media Rights Agenda had sued NBC for imposing a fine of N500,000 each on Channels, TVC, AIT, and 42 others on March 1, 2019, for allegedly flouting the provisions of the Nigerian broadcasting code.
MRA held that the action of the commission violated the right to a fair hearing under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ratification and Enforcement) Act.
Justice James Omotosho had, on May 10, given an order of perpetual injunction restraining NBC from imposing fines on broadcast stations.
The judge also set aside the N500,000 fines imposed by the commission on March 1, 2019, on each of the 45 broadcast stations alleged to have violated its code.
After the judgment was delivered, NBC filed a motion on notice through its lawyer, seeking an order setting aside the judgment, adding that the judgment was reached per incuriam and without jurisdiction.
NBC also claimed that the originating motion in the suit in which the judgment was delivered was not served on them.
Delivering judgment on the matter on Thursday, Omotosho held that the NBC Code, which gives the commission the power to impose sanctions, conflicts with Section 6 of the Constitution, which vests judicial power in the court of law.
He noted that NBC made a futile attempt to persuade the court to set aside the judgment.
Omotosho said an affidavit of facts deposed to by the court bailiff confirmed that the processes were served on the commission.
“It is a futile attempt to get the court to set aside this judgment. The respondent should bear the consequences of its indolence.
“In the final analysis, it is an afterthought and belated. The application to set aside the judgment is hereby refused.”