Gyang Bere, Jos
Jodaj Global Communications, owners of a Jos-based private radio station, Jay FM, has dragged the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and its Jos Zonal Director, Igomu Onoja, to court for shutting down the station.
The owners are asking the court to compel the NBC to reopen the radio station as well as pay damages amounting to N500 million incurred as a result of the shutdown.
The Managing Director of the radio station, Mr Clinton Garba, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Jos on Thursday.
According to him, the case which was filled before the Federal High Court in Jos has the NBC and its zonal director as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
The NBC had in a letter signed by Onoja shut down the operations of Jay FM on March 1, 2019, alleging that the station’s continued broadcast might lead to a break down of law and order.
Clinton said: “On Monday 18th March 2019, we were invited to a meeting at the national headquarters of the NBC in Abuja to discuss the circumstances surrounding the shutdown of the station and the way forward.
“The meeting which was entirely enveloped by the essence of cordiality was genuinely targeted at an amicable resolution. In the end, the commission made a commitment to reopen the station within the week, that is, between 18th and 23rd March 2019.
“However, information available to us indicates that powers that be in the Presidency used by the powers in Plateau State insisted that the Jay FM Jos must remain shut down.
“While it is never our intention, style, or preoccupation to be confrontational with our regulators, we have arrived at a crossroads, where we are constrained and left with no option but to seek legal redress in a court of law which is the final and only hope of the downtrodden and persecuted masses of our country, in the expectation that we would find justice there where the NBC and its manipulators have denied us,”
Among the reliefs sought in court by the applicant’s counsel, Mr H.O Olowokere and four others which was contained in a writ of summons obtained by our correspondent in Jos on Thursday include “a declaration that in issuing the order of a shutdown against the applicant’s operations, the respondents’ action as the accuser, prosecutor and judge is a violation of the plaintiff’s right to fair hearing; an order of the court directing the respondents to pay the applicant the sum of N500 million being the general and exemplary damages for loss of income, business opportunities, inability to execute contractual obligations entered into with third parties before the shutdown by the respondents” among other reliefs.