Court approves NBC, AIT/Raypower’s settlement terms as judgement

Raymond Dokpesi

A Federal High Court in Abuja has adopted as its judgement, the terms of settlement reached by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT and Raypower FM, over their recent dispute.

The NBC had seized the national broadcast licences of the media organisations.

Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled on Wednesday as “consent judgement” after Daar Communications’ lawyer adopted the terms of settlement dated June 20, 2019, and filed before the court on June 25.

Ekwo adopted all the seven terms in the agreement consented to without any alteration as the court’s judgement.

Among other items listed in his judgement, the judge ordered that Daar Communications should furnish the NBC “with a concrete and realistic proposal” and ensure prompt payment of the outstanding licence renewal fee.

He also ordered the company to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary on its stations across the country.

“That the plaintiff shall take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and all/any other outlets.

“That the plaintiff 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. NH, 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 Terms of Settlement tiled and adopted is hereby entered as judgement of this court in this suit.

“That each of the parties shall bear its own costs of this action,” Ekwo said.

The parties had reached an out-of-court settlement in a meeting on June 9 coordinated by the President of the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), Nduka Obaigbena.

Some of those who attended were Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NBC, Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu; Founder and Chairman Emeritus of DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi, among others.