Charles Uwagbai

Nigerian filmmaker, Charles Uwagbai, has sued the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, over the controversial broadcasting code.

The suit was filed at the Federal High Court, in which Uwagbai is the Plaintiff and the NBC, the defendant.

Uwagbai is seeking a declaration that the defendant (NBC), being a statutory creation (to wit: the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. N11, laws of the federation) could only be reformed by legislative amendment to the statute that created it and not by “approval of the president” of “the Recommendations of the Committee on the Reform of the National Broadcasting Commission” and/or a “Public presentation of amendments of the 6th edition of the Broadcasting Code to stakeholders” by “the Board of Management of NBC.”

The plaintiff, through his counsel, also sought a declaration that the power vested in the defendant to establish and disseminate a national broadcasting code, under section 2(1)(h) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act, CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is exercisable  only by a meeting (and decision/resolution) of a Quorum of its stipulated members in Section 3 of the Act, and Rules 1, 4, 7, 8 and 11 of the First  Schedule (“Supplementary Provisions Relating to the Commission”). to the Act.

He further sought a declaration that the establishment and dissemination of a purported “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code” by the persons or bodies and/or through the process/procedure stated in the preface (at page 6) thereof is unknown to law, and therefore null, void and of no effect whatsoever and howsoever.

On this wise, the plaintiff is seeking an order setting aside the said “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code” for constituting an abuse, by capture and subversion, of the responsibility statutorily vested in the Defendant, under Section 2(1) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act, CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to establish and disseminate “a national broadcasting code . . . setting standards with regards to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast.”

In the alternative to the declaration and order above, the plaintiff sought a declaration that in view of the controversy that has attended and afflicted the due-process legitimacy of the undated “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code”, the Defendant has the obligation and duty to disclose and make public the full details and records of its meeting(s) or proceedings at which the same was proposed, considered and established, and resolved for dissemination to the public (including but not limited to the notice (s) convening the meeting (s), the members in attendance and their vote(s) at the meeting (s), etc.)

Uwagbai, therefore, sought an order directing the Defendant to disclose and make public forthwith (or within such time as the Honourable Court shall deem appropriate) the full details and records of its meeting(s) or proceeding(s) at which the said “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code”, was authorised.

He then sought an injunction restraining the Defendant from the dissemination or further dissemination or implementation of the purported “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code”.

The Plaintiff also sought an order setting aside the purported “Addendum to the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code”, in the absence of the required disclosure.