Court Endorses Terms of AIT/NBC Out-of-Court Settlement

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday endorsed the terms of settlement adopted by DAAR Communications Plc and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in resolving the dispute that arose following the suspension of DAAR Communications’ operational licence by the NBC.

Justice Ekwo adopted the 7-point terms of settlement as consent judgment of the court, following the decision of parties which include; Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and Attorney General of the Federation to resolve the matter out of court.

In the settlement terms, DAAR Communications Plc owners of AIT/Raypower, agreed to furnish the NBC with a concrete proposal and ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding licence renewal fee for its national network broadcast licence.

The communication outfit also agreed to take necessary internal steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary on its stations across the country and shall also take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and any other outlet.

Similarly, the parties agreed that DAAR Communications Plc shall ensure that all programmes transmitted on its television and radio stations across the country comply with the provisions of the, 1999 constitution and the National Broadcasting Commission Act as well as the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

On its part, the NBC agreed to immediately withdraw the suspension of the National Network Broadcast Licence of DAAR Communications Plc.

Parties however agreed to bear their cost of the legal action.

The terms of settlement was signed on behalf of the communication firm by the Group Managing Director, DAAR Communications Plc, Tony Akiotu, while Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Kawu Modibbo, signed on behalf of the Commission.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN and Eseoghene Igbako, counsel to the plaintiff and NBC respectively.

The terms of settlement was pursuant to the reconciliatory meeting held by the parties (DAAR Communications Plc and NBC) on June 9, 2019.

It would be recalled that the President of the Nigerian Press Organisation ( NPO ) comprising of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Mr Nduka Obaigbena, had convened a meeting of all critical stakeholders in the sector immediately after NBC announced the suspension of the Broadcast License of DAAR Communications Plc.

The meeting which included the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria ( BON ), The Nigerian Guild of Editors ( NGE) and The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), was aimed at proffering amicable solution to the issues in the interest of the nation. The two parties consequently agreed to resolve the issue amicably.