Court orders AIT, others to pay outstanding fees owed to FG - Saga Gist - Top Source for Nigeria News

TRENDING

Wednesday, June 26

Court orders AIT, others to pay outstanding fees owed to FG




...Orders DAAR Communications to always ensure fair reportage

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered DAAR Communications Plc, owners of AIT, RayPower fm, and others to urgently come up with “a concrete and realistic proposal and ensure the prompt payment of outstanding licence renewal fees for its National Network Broadcast licence (Radio/TV).”

The court also ordered it to “take necessary internal steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary on the Plaintiffs stations across the country.

DAAR Communications, the court said, “shall ensure that all programmes transmitted on its TV/Radio stations across the country comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)Act, Cap. NH, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as may be in force or/and as amended from time to time.

Further, DAAR Communications is to, henceforth, “take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and all/any other outlets.

Justice Inyang Ekwo extracted these and others from the terms of settlement entered into by DAAR Communications and the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as condition for the resolution of the dispute between both institutions, which resulted in the recent indefinite suspension of DAAR’s licence by the NBC.

The NBC, through its Director-General, Modibbo Kawu, had on June 6, 2019 announced the indefinite suspension of DAAR’s operating licence, a decision the broadcasting firm challenged by instituting a suit before the court.

Read Also: Court strikes out certificate fraud case against AbdulRazaq
The NBC had claimed that DAAR’s broadcasting stations breached existing broadcast codes and defaulted in the payment of their licence renewal fees. The stations were also accused of airing a presidential election documentary while the matter was still before a tribunal, among others.

Upon an ex-parte application by DAAR Communications, Justice Ekwo, on June 7, 2019s parties to maintain status quo as of May 30, 2019, pending the determination of an application for interlocutory injunction against NBC and other defendants in the case it filed.

The judge adjourned to a further date for the hearing of the plaintiff’s application for interlocutory injunction. On the last hearing date, the plaintiff informed the court about efforts to settle out of court, following which the court adjourned to June 26, 2019 for report of settlement.

On Wednesday, plaintiff’s lawyer, Idongesit Udofia from Mike Ozekhome (SAN)’s chambers, adopted the terms of settlement, dated June 20, 2019 and filed before the court on June 25, 2019.

Lawyers to the NBC and the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) – Bright Igbako and O.A Oloruntogbe did not object to Udofia’s prayer that the court adopts the terms of settlement as its judgment in the case.

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, listed as a defendant in the case, was not represented by any lawyer.

In a ruling, Justice Ekwo acceded to the plaintiff’s request and adopted the terms of settlement as a consent judgment of the court and ordered among others, that DAAR Communications should furnish the NBC “with a concrete and realistic proposal” and ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding licence renewal fee.

The judge declared that the court, having entered judgment as per the terms of settlement adopted, it is hereby ordered as follows:

“That the plaintiff (DAAR Communications Plc) shall furnish the 1st defendant (National Broadcasting Commission) with a concrete and realistic proposal and ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding licence renewal fee for its National Network Broadcast licence (Radio/TV).

“That the plaintiff shall take necessary internal steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary on the Plaintiffs stations across the country.

“That the plaintiff shall take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and all/any other outlets.

“That the plaintiff shall ensure that all programmes transmitted on its TV/Radio stations across the country comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. NH, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as may be in force or/and as amended from time to time.

“That the 1st defendant shall withdraw forthwith, the suspension of the National Network Broadcast licence (Radio/TV) of the plaintiff.

“That the Terms of Settlement tiled and adopted is hereby entered as judgement of this court in this suit.

“That each of the parties shall bear its own costs of this action.”