Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has withdrawn the suspension of the operating licence of Daar Communications Plc, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower 100.5FM.
The withdrawal followed a series of meetings between the NBC and Daar Communications Plc and a consent judgment of the court in Suit No FHC/ABJ/C5/595/2019.
Recall that on June 6, 2019, the NBC suspended the operating license of Daar Communications Plc over content reported on the latter’s platform.
As a result of the suspension, Daar Communications Plc secured the judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which reinstated its operating license.
Following the development, both parties went into a series of conciliatory meetings resulting in the final withdrawal of the suspension slammed on Daar Communications Plc.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Director-General of the NBC, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, said the intervention of the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) under the leadership of its National Chairman, Nduka Obaigbena, and respected elders, Uncle Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard newspapers and Chairman of Bulet International Construction Company, Alhaji Samaila Isa Funtua, the NBC met DAAR Communications, to find an amicable resolution of the issues.
“After several meetings, we reached an agreement, which also became the basis of the court judgement that was delivered two days ago. We want to especially thank Uncle Sam Amuka, and Alhaji Samaila Isa Funtua, who hosted the conciliatory meetings, and especially Nduka Obaigbena, the Chairman of the NPO, for his remarkable effort at brokering the settlement. He ensured that NPAN did not join the bandwagon of an almost pavlovian reflexive condemnation of the NBC, but chose instead, to find a way for the contending issues between regulator and licensee, to be amicably resolved in the overall interest of the country,” Kawu said.
Agreements reached between the NBC and Daar Communications Plc, according to Kawu, include: “That DAAR Communications Plc shall furnish the National Broadcasting Commission with a concrete and realistic proposal for the payment of its outstanding license renewal fee for the National Network Broadcast License ( Radio/TV).
“That DAAR Communications Plc shall take the necessary internal steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary on the DAAR Communications Plc stations across the country.
“That DAAR Communications Plc shall take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and all/any other outlets.
“That DAAR Communications Plc shall ensure that all programmes transmitted on its TV/Radio stations across the country comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. NII, laws of the Federation, 2004 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as may be in force or/and as amended from time to time.
“That the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) shall withdraw forthwith, the suspension of the National Network Broadcast License (Radio/TV) of DAAR Communications Plc,” Kawu said.
Kawu added that the terms of settlement were consequently filed and entered as the consent judgment of the court in Suit No FHC/ABJ/C5/595/2019.
He further said on the basis of the judgment, the NBC had withdrawn the suspension notice issued to DAAR Communications Plc.
“We want to reiterate our full confidence in the Nigerian legal system and we urge that DAAR Communications Plc, would take necessary steps to abide by the terms of settlement entered as judgment of the court.
“As we all now know, the court accepted these terms as the basis for the consent judgment and the judge ruled accordingly,” Kawu also said.