Nigeria: Lawyer Sues NBC Over Suspension of Channel Television's Licence

Regulation & Policy

An Abuja high court sitting in Maitama has granted leave to a lawyer based in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Godwin Sunday Ogboji, to sue the National Broadcasting Commission over suspension of the broadcasting licence of Channels Television.

Ogboji who claimed that Channels Television is his favourite news medium is asking for the court order compelling the commission to pay him N10 million damages for breaching his rights to freedom of expression. Although the NBC is yet to respond to the suit, the Abuja high court has fixed 24 October, this year for hearing in the case.

In the application for enforcement of his fundamental human rights, Ogboji is begging the court for two declarative and one injunctive reliefs including:

A declaration that the arbitrary suspension of the licence of his favourite news medium, Channels Television, which led to its closure by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is in flagrant disregard to the relevant laws of the land is unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void and a breach of his fundamental rights

A declaration that the arbitrary, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional suspension of his favourite news medium, Channels Television, which led to its closure by the National Broadcasting Commission for it not broadcasting breached his enshrined and guaranteed right of freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39 (1) and Article IX (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

In a 12-paragraph affidavit accompanying the application and personally deposed to by Ogboji, he said he was a public commentator and analyst who depends heavily on Channels Television to source news which he analyses or and comment on.

He said that during the closure of the television station, he said he suffered an untold hardship. He said his rights to information was breached by the NBC at the time of the station's closure and that he was demanding for just N10 million as general compensation for all he lost at the time.

Vanguard (Lagos) 16 October 2008