First Nigeria’s private radio station Raypower 100.5FM and the African Independent Television (AIT), are back on the airwaves after a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled in favour of DAAR Communications, the parent body of the two media houses.
Chief Raymond Dokpesi is the founder of Daar Communications PLC. He had approached the court after the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) sanctioned both media houses for violation of broadcasting codes.
The court had granted an order ex-parte for the maintenance of status quo pending the determination of a motion filed by DAAR Communications, in its suit challenging the action of the NBC.
Delivering his ruling on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, rejected two prayers by DAAR Communication, owners of the two stations, for restraining orders against the respondents – NBC, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
DAAR Communications had, in the reliefs sought to restrain the respondents from interfering with its operations pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions.
Instead, Justice Ekwo granted the alternative relief, “an order for the maintenance of status quo ante bellum as at 30th of May, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.”
Justice Ekwo said the applicant, DAAR would be penalised should it turn out, at the end of the day, that the order ought not to have been made.
The judge noted that, by the issues raised in its application by DAAR Communications, the respondents deserved to be heard.
The judge ordered the respondents – NBC, FMIC, AGF – “to appear in court on the next date to show cause why the prayers in the applicant’s motion should not be granted.”
Justice Ekwo adjourned further proceedings till June 13, 2019.
Dokpesi is a member of the main opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the action of the NBC had been seen as a clampdown on the press.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military head of state didn’t have a good record of press freedom.