A Nasarawa State High Court sitting in Lafia has awarded N67.3m against the Nasarawa State government for the demolition of a private radio station, Breeze 99.9 FM, Lafia.
Breeze FM was demolished by the government on May 20, 2017, attracting global concern from individuals and corporate organisations, including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Consequently, the proprietor of the Lafia-based private radio station, Mr. Nawani Aboki, approached the Nasarawa State High Court to seek redress.
Justice Rose Soji of the state High Court sitting in Lafia awarded N50 million against the Nasarawa State government as general, punitive damage and witch hunt.
In the same vein, she also awarded the plaintiff N17,335,500.00 special damage for demolition of the radio station by the state government, amongst other damages.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Soji held that the demolition of Breeze FM 99.9 by the state government was a gross violation of the Nasarawa State law and that the structure housing the radio station, as claimed by government, was not an illegal structure.
The judge said the unlawful destruction of the radio station had caused huge finance and economic loss to the owner, adding that it had also caused the owner of the radio station public embarrassment, intimidation and serious psychological trauma.
She held that the court was convinced by the available evidence before it that the plaintiff had substantially proved his case beyond reasonable doubt and hereby entered judgment in his favour.
Reacting to the judgment in an interview, Counsel to Aboki, Ucha Olegede, said the demolition of the radio station was unconstitutional, an act of wickedness and an act of vindictiveness by Nasrawa State government.
Also speaking in an interview, Counsel to the defendant, Ishaku Usman, commended the judge for diligent judgement, however he said they would determine whether to appeal the judgment or not after consulting with his client.
On his part, the proprietor of the Breeze FM, Mr. Aboki said: ‘’Today marked another day when freedom and democracy has triumphed over anarchy. The judgment was for the freedom of the press worldwide.”