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Court Bars NBC from Imposing Fines on Broadcast Stations

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A Federal High Court in Abuja issued a perpetual injunction on Wednesday, prohibiting the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from imposing fines on broadcast stations in the country. 

The court ruling by Justice James Omotosho also nullified the N500,000 fines imposed on each of the 45 broadcast stations on March 1, 2019. 
Justice Omotosho stated that the NBC, not being a court of law, lacked the authority to impose punitive sanctions on broadcast stations. 

He further emphasized that the NBC Code, which grants the commission the power to levy penalties, contradicts Section 6 of the Constitution, which vests judicial power solely in the court of law. 

The judge acknowledged that the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, as a subsidiary legislation enabling an administrative body like the NBC to enforce its provisions, cannot confer judicial powers on the commission to impose criminal sanctions, including fines. 

He also concurred that the commission, not the Nigeria Police Force, lacked the jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations leading to trials and sanctions. 
"This would violate the principle of separation of powers," he remarked. 
Justice Omotosho emphasized that the doctrine of separation of powers aims to prevent the concentration of excessive power in one branch. 

He stated that the respondent's actions exceeded its authority by assuming both judicial and executive powers.


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