Alex Enumah in Abuja
To Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, Wednesday endorsed the terms of settlement adopted by DAAR Communications Plc and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in resolving the dispute following the suspension of the operations of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio by the NBC.
Justice Ekwo adopted the seven-point terms of settlement as consent judgment of the court following the decision of the parties, including the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the Attorney General of the Federation, to resolve the matter out of court.
In the settlement terms, DAAR Communications Plc 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 steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially political commentary, on its stations across the country and also to take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from the 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 NBC Act as well as the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
On its part, the NBC agreed to reverse immediately the suspension of the national network broadcast licence of DAAR Communications Plc.
The parties, however, agreed to bear their cost of the legal action.
The terms of settlement was signed on behalf of the broadcasting company by its Group Managing Director, Mr. Tony Akiotu while the NBC Director General, Mr. 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 were pursuant to the reconciliatory meeting held by the parties – DAAR Communications Plc and NBC on June 9, 2019.
The President of the Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Prince Nduka Obaigbena, had convened a meeting of all critical stakeholders in the sector over the broadcast licence of DAAR Communications Plc.
The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria ( BON ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors ( NGE) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ), proffered amicable solutions to the issues in the interest of the nation.