The Abuja Federal High court has restored the broadcasting license of Daar Communications Plc, owner of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power, while the new hearing date of the proceedings has been shifted till June 13, 2019.
The ruling was made on Friday by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who rejected two prayers by Daar Communications Plc for restraining orders against Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC), and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The High Court reportedly granted an order ex-parte for the maintenance of status quo, pending the final determination of a motion filed by Daar Communications Plc challenging the suspension of its operating license by the NBC.
Court Ruling: Earlier, DAAR communication sought to restrain the NBC and other respondents from interfering with its operations pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions.
However, the two prayers submitted by DAAR communication were rejected by Justice Inyang Ekwo. 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.”
Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo warned that DAAR communication would be penalised should it turn out, at the end of the day, that the order ought not to have been made.
Earlier development: On Thursday, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC suspended the operating license of Daar Communications Plc, which prevented broadcasting in both AIT and Ray Power FM. According to the NBC Director General of NBC, Dr. Modibbo Kawu, the decision to suspend the TV and radio stations was mainly prompted by the gross violations of Nigeria’s broadcasting code.
While announcing the suspension in Abuja, yesterday, during a press conference, Dr. Kawu stated that NBC’s suspension of the stations is backed by the NBC Act Cap N11; specifically, section 10 of the Third Schedule.
What this means: Despite the restored operating license of the broadcasting station, that may not be all yet as cases filed by NBC, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) still await final determination on June 13th.
In the meantime, this will heave a sigh of relief to the management of DAAR Communications Plc, as operations are expected to resume with immediate effect.