The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has been granted leave by the Federal High Court in Abuja to sue the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in two separate cases over alleged violations of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
MRA claimed that the commission had failed to respond to two separate applications for information: one regarding the scope of independence reportedly granted it by President Muhammadu Buhari and another regarding details of the 302 broadcasting stations it sanctioned in four months after campaigns for the 2023 elections began in September 2022.
Justice Nkeonye Evelyn Maha granted MRA leave to apply to the court to compel the NBC to make available to it the information it requested after hearing arguments from the organization’s lawyers in two separate ex-parte motions.
In the first case filed on behalf of MRA, the organization sought an order granting it leave to apply for a review pursuant to the FOI Act, 2011 and for the court to direct the NBC to make available to it the information it requested in its letter dated February 17, 2023.
In the second case, MRA sought leave of the court to apply for judicial review pursuant to the FOI Act, among other things, for an order compelling the NBC to make available to it the information it requested in its letter dated February 20, 2023.
MRA is requesting the following information: whether the power of the Minister of Information under Section 6 of the NBC Act to give the commission directives with regard to the exercise of its functions has been abolished; whether the NBC now has the final authority for the issuance of broadcast licenses; and a copy of the communication from the President conveying the approval of the independence of the NBC.
MRA’s lawyer, Mr. Tale Alabi, and Mr. Bula Zakayo Kelle filed the two cases against the NBC and the Attorney-General of the Federation. Justice Maha granted MRA leave to apply for the reliefs sought by the organization and directed the lawyers to file their motions on notice within seven days. The judge adjourned further hearing in both cases to June 21, 2023.