Nigeria Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has filed a suit against the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), at the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the legal authority of the broadcast regulatory body to regulate and license social media platforms in the country or to decide if a broadcasting station is patriotic or not.
In the suit in which MRA is being represented by a team of 14 lawyers, led by Abuja-based constitutional lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, the organisation is praying the court declares that since the NBC has no regulatory authority over social media platforms, it lacks the power to impose broadcast licenses on social media platforms as they are not broadcasting stations under the National Broadcasting Commission Act or any other law or subsidiary legislation in existence in Nigeria.
Other 13 lawyers representing MRA in the suit are Zak Babah, Bukola Akinola, Oludotun Sowemimo, Michael Emejulu, Martins Aduloju, Wole Adaja, Akinola Oladimeji, Ifunanya Okeke, Eme Jackson, Hamza Dantani, Roseline Akinsanmi, Aisha Muhammed, and Tauyyib Shittu.
The organisation wants the court to declare that the NBC’s move to regulate and license social media platforms is a violation of its right to freedom of expression under Section 39 of the Constitution; Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as a breach of Nigeria’s treaty obligations by virtue of its being a signatory to the international legal instruments.
MRA named as respondents the Attorney-General of the Federation and NBC in the suit brought by Originating Summons pursuant to Order 2 Rules 1 to 5 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, as preserved by Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended; Sections 39 and 46 of the Constitution; and Article 9 of the African Charter.