Unlawful Shutdown: NBC, JayFM Agree to Settle out of Court

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By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

After shutting down JayFM, a leading private radio station in Jos, for over two months under curious, questionable and alleged political circumstances, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the management of the radio station on Wednesday opted for an out-of-court settlement with a view to reopening the station without further delay.

Jodaj Global Communication, owners of JayFM, had, through its counsel, Mrs. H.O. Olowokere, dragged the NBC before Justice Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court II sitting in Jos, demanding the immediate reopening of the station.

The management of the radio station had described the closure of the station by NBC on March 1, 2019, as “unlawful, null and void”, adding that it was an action done in bad blood and an unwarranted victimization since there was no cause for it.

The station had therefore asked the court for an order for the immediate reopening of the station and payment of N500 million to it as general damages.

When the case came up for hearing before the presiding Justice Kurya on Wednesday in Jos, Olowokere told the court that there was an ongoing discussion between the station and NBC to settle the matter out of court.

She said: “My Lord, the matter today is slated for hearing, but we wish to bring to the notice of this honourable court that we the parties in this case have started discussion on how to settle the matter out of court.

“It’s our belief and expectation that we shall reach an agreement on the matter as we discuss.

“In the light of this, my Lord, we wish to ask for an adjournment to enable us complete our discussion and report back to the court our terms of agreement.

“But in the event we could not agree, we shall continue with the hearing of the matter before your Lordship.”

Dr. Ogomu Onoja, NBC Jos Zonal Director, who represented the commission, which did not send a counsel to represent it in court, confirmed the submission made by Olowokere.

He said: “My Lord, what the prosecuting counsel said is the true position of things in this matter.

“It’s our candid belief that we shall be able to reach an accord and report back to your Lordship at the next adjourned date.”

Justice Kurya then adjourned the case to May 15 for report on terms of settlement or for the continuation of hearing of the case as the case may be, but declined to order the immediate reopening of the station before the settlement process is completed since the one week adjourned date was short.