Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court Abuja has delivered a landmark judgment nullifying the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) authority to impose fines on broadcast stations for alleged breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) against the NBC. This legal action came in response to the Commission’s imposition of fines totaling N5 million each on a television station and three pay TV platforms in 2022.
RoyalTimes reported the fines were levied on the grounds of allegedly undermining Nigeria’s national security by broadcasting documentaries on banditry in the country.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia held that the NBC, not being a court of law, overstepped its powers by imposing fines on broadcast stations. The judge declared null and void the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code that authorized the NBC to impose fines, emphasizing that administrative and regulatory bodies cannot exercise judicial powers.
Commending the MRA for challenging the NBC’s actions, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commission or anyone acting on its behalf from imposing fines on any media platform or broadcast station in Nigeria for alleged offenses under the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.