Court Stops NBC From Imposing Fines On TV, Radio Stations
By Adedapo Adesanya
Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja has given an order of perpetual injunction restraining the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from imposing fines on broadcast stations in the country.
Justice Omotosho also set aside the N500,000 fines imposed on each of the 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019.
Delivering the judgment, he described NBC’s act as being ultra vires. That is, it carried out actions taken that exceeded the scope of power given to them by Nigerian laws.
He also held that NBC, not being a court of law, had no power to impose sanctions as punishment on broadcast stations.
While delivering judgement, he stated that the NBC Code, which gives the commission the power to impose sanctions, is in conflict with Section 6 of the Constitution, which vested judicial power in the court of law, stressing that the court would not sit idle and watch a body imposing fine arbitrarily without recourse to the law.
Justice Omotosho also said that the commission did not comply with the law when it sat as a complainant and, at the same time, the court and the judge on its own matter.
The judge agreed that the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, being a subsidiary legislation that empowers an administrative body such as the NBC to enforce its provisions, cannot confer judicial powers on the commission to impose criminal sanctions or penalties such as fines.
He also agreed that the commission, not being Nigerian police, had no power to conduct a criminal investigation that would lead to criminal trial and imposition of sanctions.
Justice Omotosho held that what the doctrine sought to achieve was to prevent tyranny by concentrating too much power in one organ.
NBC had, on March 1, 2019, imposed the sum of N500,000 each on 45 broadcast stations in the country over an alleged violation of its code.
In an originating summon, however, the Incorporated sued NBC as the sole respondent in the suit.
In the motion, the lawyer of the group, Mr Noah Ajare, sought a declaration that the sanctions procedure applied by NBC in imposing N500,00Q fines on each of the 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019, was a violation of the rules of natural justice.
The lawyer also said that the fines were in violation of the right to a fair hearing under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Articles 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap AQ) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The group argued that this was so because the code, which created the alleged offences of which the broadcast stations were accused, was written and adopted by NBC, “and also gives powers to the said commission to receive complaints of alleged breaches, investigate and adjudicate the complaints, impose sanctions, including fines, and ultimately collect the fines, which the commission uses for its purposes.”
They, therefore, sought an order setting aside the N500,000 fines purportedly imposed by NBC on each of the 45 broadcast stations on Friday, March 1, 2019.
They also sought “an order of perpetual Injunction restraining the respondent, its servants, agents, privies, representatives or anyone acting for or on its behalf, from imposing fines on any of the broadcast stations or any other broadcast station in Nigeria for any alleged offence committed under the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.”
He held that the fines imposed by the NBC as punishment for the commission of various offences under its code were contrary to the law and hereby declared unconstitutional, null and void.
NLC, TUC Suspend Wednesday’s Nationwide Strike
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The planned nationwide strike action earlier fixed for Wednesday, June 7, 2023, by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has been suspended by the unions.
The labour unions suspended the industrial action on Monday night after a meeting with the federal government at the Presidential Villa.
Nigerian workers had planned to stay away from work to protest the announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural speech last Monday.
Recall that earlier yesterday, the central government obtained an interim order from the National Industrial Court to stop the industrial action by the labour organisations on the argument that the strike could paralyse the country.
Justice O.Y. Anuwe restrained the NLC and the TUC from the action pending the determination of the motion of notice, which was fixed for a hearing on June 19, 2023.
Later in the day, the labour unions and the federal government held a meeting, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been appointed as the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, informed newsmen last night that a committee would be set up to discuss ways to resolve the issues amicably.
“The federal government, the TUC and the NLC would review World Bank Financed Cash transfer scheme and propose the inclusion of low-income earners in the programme.
“The federal government, the TUC and the NLC to revive the CNG conversion programme earlier agreed with Labour centres in 2021 and work out detailed implementation and timing.
“The labour centres and the federal government to review issues hindering effective delivery in the education sector and propose solutions for implementation.
“The labour centres and the federal government to review and establish the framework for completion of the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.
“The federal government to provide a framework for maintaining roads and expanding rail networks across the country.
“The joint committee will assess all other demands submitted by the TUC to the federal government,” a communique issued at the end of the meeting said.
Business Post reports that after the NLC and the TUC agreed to “suspend the notice of strike forthwith to enable further consultations,” they fixed June 19 to reconvene a meeting with the government “to agree on an implementation framework.”
Subsidy Removal: Court Stops Proposed Nationwide Strike by NLC, TUC
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The proposed nationwide strike to kick against the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government may suffer a setback as the National Industrial Court (NIC) has restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from going on with the action.
In a ruling on an interim order sought by the federal government on Monday in Abuja, Justice O. Y. Anuwe ordered the unions to stop the strike pending the determination of a suit filed by the government.
The judge directed the government to serve the NLC and the TUC the interim order and the substantive suit marked NICN/ABJ/158/2023, fixing June 19, 2023, for hearing of the matter.
“The defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on the planned Industrial Action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023.
“It is ordered that the defendant/ respondents be immediately served with the originating processes in this suit, the motion on notice, and the order of this court hereby made.
“The motion on notice is hereby fixed for hearing on 19th June 2023. Hearing notices to that effect shall be served on the defendants/respondents along with the other processes,” Justice Anuwe ruled.
Business Post reports that the Federal Ministry of Justice filed an ex-parte motion to stop the planned industrial action by the labour unions, arguing that the strike was capable of disrupting economic activities, the health sector and the educational sector.
Momentum Gathers for Second Adire Lagos Experience
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Stakeholders in the Nigerian textile industry are getting prepared for the second Adire Lagos Experience organised by Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
Momentum is gathering for this event slated for June 9 to 11, 2023, because the first edition, held at the ultra-modern Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) complex in Victoria Island, was the talk of the town.
Participants used the occasion to network and get the latest designs in the local adire fabric.
Ecobank has assured that this year’s programme would be bigger as those expected are top government officials from Lagos, Ogun and other neighbouring states, the CEO of Adire Oodua Textile Hub and wife of Ooni of Ife, Mrs Ronke Ogunwusi; the CEO of Dye Lab, Ms Joke Ladoja; the Creative Director, Afume Global Concepts, Mrs Funmi Sosanya; and the CEO, Aga Culture & Upbeat, Moyo Ogunseinde, among others.
The event is being partnered with the National Union Textile Garment Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (Adire Sector) and will involve the exhibition of new designs of the fabric.
The Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, said the exhibition is part of the bank’s contribution to boosting the nation’s tourism, culture and creative industry using Adire as a key driver, adding that, high profile exhibitors, vendors, dignitaries from different parts of the world have indicated interest to be part of the event.
“The bank was encouraged by the success of the maiden edition last year. It is in line with our brand promise as a Pan-African Institution to promote culture and boost tourism on the continent.
“We expect topflight exhibitors, expatriates, influencers, dignitaries from all walks of life and members of the public at the three days event,” she said.
Mrs Demola-Adeniyi stated that the event would feature a series of masterclasses and exhibitions, as well as networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, shoppers and everyone interested in the making or trading of Adire, adding that the bank has provided a cosy ambience with utmost serenity to make participants feel comfortable and safe.
She added that, “Participation is free, and you are welcome to invite family and friends to come over to witness the beautiful event.
“This exhibition also presents an opportunity not only to sell and buy products but to experience the luxuriance in our culture.
“In addition to the wonderful display of Adire clothing and products, there will be masterclasses on Adire production, picture-perfect moments, and music to vibe.”
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