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SERAP Takes Govt, NBC To ECOWAS Court Over Alleged Abuse Of Broadcasting Code



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The government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) have been taken to the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja over an alleged abuse of the NBC Act and broadcasting code.

The suit has the number ECW/CCJ/APP/19/21 and it was filed last week by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 24 concerned Nigerians.

In the suit, SERAP Depuy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, contended that the code was enacted to target, harass, sanction, and fine independent television and radio stations in Nigeria, and to restrict Nigerians’ freedom of expression and access to information.

Therefore, “SERAP is asking the ECOWAS Court to declare illegal and contrary to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations the provisions of the NBC Act and broadcasting code frequently applied by the Federal Government and NBC to target, harass, intimidate, and impose sanctions on independent television and radio stations in the country.”

The suit came in the wake of the “‘bridge [breach] letter’ by the NBC asking Channels TV to explain why it interviewed the spokesman of a proscribed organisation; the ban on Jay FM 101.9 Jos for playing songs such as Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria’, Wande Coal’s

‘Iskaba’ and Olamide’s ‘See Mary, See Jesus’; and the N9m fines imposed on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests,” Oluwadare stated.

In the suit, the plaintiffs are arguing that “The rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom allow Nigerians to seek and attain truth, which is an inherently good activity. These rights also allow Nigerians to participate in representative governance, social and political decision-making, which the Federal Government and NBC are obligated to foster and encourage.”

The plaintiffs said further: “Attempts to justify restrictions on these fundamental rights and freedom on the overly vague grounds of incitement, morality and subversion of the constituted authority contradict the principles of the universality of human rights.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and cannot be denied without lawful justification.”

The plaintiffs are also arguing that, “the application of the Nigerian Broadcasting Act 1992 and broadcasting code to sanction independent television and radio stations is arbitrary, and has created an environment in which independent media houses are censored, or resort to self-censorship.”

The plaintiffs stated that, “Despite the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria which guarantees the right to access public records, the Federal Government and its agents and several states of Nigeria have routinely refused to release information sought.”

The plaintiffs are also arguing that, “A lot of Nigerians at home and abroad rely on independent television and radio stations including online on their coverage of topical issues of public interest to access impartial, objective and critical information about ideas and views on how the Federal Government and its agents are performing their constitutional and international human rights obligations.

“The low level of political tolerance for views perceived to be critical of government or offensive means that the press continues to be subject of scare tactics, harassment and intimidation.

“Censorship restricts the flow of information from the Federal Government and its agents about issues of public interest, preventing people from accessing critical information, expressing themselves, and denying them opportunities to assert other fundamental human rights.

“The Federal Government and NBC should be stopped from using the broadcasting code or any other regulations and/or law to erode the sacred rights to freedom of expression, information and media freedom, which is the bedrock of the rule of law and sustainable democracy, as the Federal Government and NBC have violated the right of Nigerians to objective and impartial news coverage and reportage.”

The plaintiffs are therefore asking the ECOWAS Court of Justice for the following reliefs: “A declaration that the application of the provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Act 1992 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code by the Defendant and its agent to impose sanctions and penalties on independent television and radio stations is inconsistent and incompatible with the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom guaranteed under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“An order ssetting aside the sum of N5 million or any other form of penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the defendant and its agent on Channels TV and/or on any such other television and radio stations.

“An order directing the defendant and its agents to immediately repeal and/or amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act and the Nigerian Broadcasting Code and bring them into conformity with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations,” among others.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.


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BREAKING: Abacha’s Ex-chief Of Staff Oladipo Diya Dies




Retired Lt.General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya, the former Chief of Staff in General Sani Abacha’s military government, is dead.

His death was confirmed by Prince Oyesinmilola Diya. He said the former military administrator of Ogun State passed on to glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023.

Born on the 3rd of April, 1944, Diya was military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari-Idiagbon coup of December 31st, 1983.

Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.

He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

While serving in the military, Diya studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He held other top military posts like GOC, 82 Division and finally the Chief of General Staff (military Vice President) to Gen Sani Abacha

The statement read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear Husband,Father, Grandfather,brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.

“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.

“Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.”

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Breaking: Appeal Court Retains Adeleke As Osun Governor



BREAKING: Adeleke Freezes Osun Accounts , Reverses Appointments After Swearing In As Governor
Governor Adeleke

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has vacated the tribunal judgement that nullified the election of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, on Friday held that the appeal Adeleke lodged to challenge his sack by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, was meritorious.

Aside from setting aside the judgement of the tribunal, the court, in its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Mohammed Lawal, awarded N500, 000 cost against the All Progressive Congress, APC, and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola

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BREAKING: PDP Suspends Anyim, Fayose



Anyim and Fayose

Former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; former president of the Senate, Pius Anyim; Prof Dennis Ityavyar and Aslam Aliyu were on Thursday suspended from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP made the suspension on Thursday after an extensive review of the affairs of the party, pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).

The PDP also referred the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.

“The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to remain united and focused at this critical time,” the statement added.


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