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MRA Urges NBC to Obey Court Order Restraining Imposition of Fines on Broadcast Stations

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Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to comply fully with the orders of Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja which restrained it from imposing fines on radio and televisions stations.

MRA Urges NBC to Obey Court Order Restraining Imposition of Fines on Broadcast Stations

MRA further said even if NBC planned to appeal against the judgment, “it should not continue to walk the path of lawlessness.”

In a statement issued in Lagos, MRA said its attention had been drawn to a statement credited to Mallam Balarabe Shehu llelah, NBC director-general, vowing that “The Commission will appeal against the judgement when it is found to be in conflict with previous judgements of the court, which empowers the Commission to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria (sic)”

Mr. Edetaen Ojo, MRA’s executive director, said in its statement that: “We recognize and respect the right of the NBC to appeal against the judgment of the Court, if it is dissatisfied with the decision, so long as it does not flout the orders of the court when those orders have not been set aside by an appellate court. Whatever the NBC’s view of the Court’s judgment may be, it cannot deny that there is a valid and subsisting order of a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting it from imposing fines on radio and television stations. Should the Commission or its Director-General take it upon themselves to sit on appeal over the judgment of the Court and disobey the clear and unequivocal orders of the Court, we wish to reassure them that we would take immediate and vigorous action to maintain the integrity of the court and its orders.”

According to Mr. Ojo, “The NBC Director-General’s statement amounts to a feeble attempt to mislead the public. We do not dispute the power or authority of the NBC to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria and we have not challenged its right to do so. That was not the issue before the court. But this does not make the Commission a court of law and neither the National Broadcasting Commission Act, as amended, nor the Nigeria Broadcasting Code can be interpreted to confer judicial powers on the NBC to impose criminal sanctions on radio and television stations in flagrant violation of the Constitution, as Justice James Omotosho stated so eloquently in his judgment.”

He noted that besides being a correct interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, the decision of Justice Omotosho is also consistent with international standards for the regulation of broadcast media as contained, for instance, in Principle 17(5) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, which states that: “The powers of regulatory bodies shall be administrative in nature and shall not seek to usurp the role of the courts.”

Mr. Ojo contended that the provisions of the Declaration are binding on Nigeria and its institutions, being an affirmation of the principles for anchoring the rights to freedom of expression and access to information in accordance with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, an international human rights instrument to which Nigeria is a State Party, and which also forms part of Nigerian Law, having been domesticated in Nigeria by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He said: “We appreciate that the NBC cannot be happy that we have shut down this major source of revenue for the Commission, but we urge it to tread the path of constitutionalism and the rule of law and obey the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction, established by the Constitution, especially if it expects individuals and entities subject to its regulatory authority to comply with its own lawful directives. The NBC will be courting anarchy should it decide to disregard the court’s orders.”


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Nigeria Makes Giant Strides in Economic Growth and Continental Leadership with the Launch of Guided Trade Initiative Under AfCFTA 

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Nigeria has embarked on a historic endeavor with the launch of the Guided Trade Initiative under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signaling a pivotal moment in boosting intra-African trade and fostering economic diversification. Spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu, this initiative is anticipated to unlock an estimated $50 billion in economic opportunities for Nigerian businesses.

President Tinubu underscored AfCFTA’s transformative potential, positioning it not merely as a trade pact but as a catalyst for industrialization, equitable growth, and continental prosperity. Nigeria is steadfast in creating an enabling business environment that fosters innovation and enhances the competitiveness of local enterprises across diverse sectors.

The launch event, supported by international partners such as the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ), celebrated Nigeria’s leadership role in AfCFTA’s implementation. The Country Director for GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, represented by GIZ ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, Svenja Ossman, highlighted Germany’s commitment through the ECOWAS AfCFTA project, aimed at bolstering the implementation framework across West Africa.

“We are pleased to witness Nigeria’s official commencement of trade under the preferential regime established by AfCFTA,” stated the GIZ country director. “Germany acknowledges Nigeria’s proactive stance in advancing regional economic integration and pledges support in aligning national efforts with ECOWAS-coordinated AfCFTA strategies.”

The GIZ ECOWAS AfCFTA support project has been pivotal in providing technical assistance to Nigeria through the AfCFTA National Action Committee, now called, the Nigeria AfCFTA Coordination Office (NACO). This support includes the development of a comprehensive Action Plan aimed at optimizing trade facilitation and maximizing opportunities for Nigerian businesses, including women and youth entrepreneurs.

“We commend Nigeria’s dedication in preparing the AfCFTA implementation Action Plan,” continued the GIZ country director. “In collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), we anticipate finalizing this plan to ensure robust financial and institutional support for its successful rollout.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, National Coordinator of NACO, highlighted the transformative impact of AfCFTA on Nigeria’s economic landscape. The conversion of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA into NACO underscores Nigeria’s commitment to effective AfCFTA implementation, including finalizing tariff concessions to enhance competitiveness within the continental market.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, reiterated Nigeria’s dedication to leveraging AfCFTA for industrial growth and job creation. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, emphasized the strategic importance of the Guided Trade Initiative in propelling Nigeria’s economic growth and fostering regional integration.

President Tinubu concluded the event by affirming Nigeria’s commitment to assuming a leadership role in continental and global trade through AfCFTA. Beyond immediate economic gains, AfCFTA promises a transformative future for all Africans, grounded in collaboration, innovation, and the collective strength of the continent.


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TAFTA’s TALP-X Paves Way for Young Creatives

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Terra Academy for the Arts (TAFTA), Nigeria’s leading creative education academy, last Sunday showcased its transformative impact on young talents across the country.

Founded with a mission to educate and upskill young Nigerians in various creative industries, including animation, art business & entrepreneurship, scriptwriting, sound design, and stage lighting, TAFTA has become a beacon of empowerment.

Since its inception in 2022, TAFTA has empowered over 24,440 young Nigerians across Lagos, Kano, and Ogun states with invaluable theatre arts and entrepreneurship skills. Notably, TAFTA has successfully integrated 9,165 youths into the workforce, with 5,156 young women securing employment or gigs in their respective fields.

Under its flagship initiative, the TAFTA Action Learning Project (TALP-X), TAFTA, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Utica Capital, hosted an unforgettable evening at Terra Arena in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Featuring five spectacular stage plays, the event not only entertained but also highlighted the depth of talent nurtured through TAFTA’s programs, creating an experience that truly made the attendees say, ‘We Outside.'”

The evening kicked off with a soul-stirring performance by Wisdom Joe, whose renditions of classics such as “Coat of Many Colors” and “Mr. Jailer” set the stage alight.

This was followed by powerful spoken word pieces by Adeoye Adelakun, who gave a poignant eulogy of Yorubaland, creating an electric atmosphere from the start.

The stage then came alive with the captivating storytelling of the first play, titled “Nocturnal.”

The audience was transported into a riveting tale of a dysfunctional couple who, despite their differences, successfully resist outside intervention and pressures.

Following the thunderous applause, the students of the academy presented a thought-provoking contemporary drama, “Hues,” exploring women’s empowerment through collaboration. As the night progressed, the energy in the room only intensified.

The audience roared with laughter during “Kolo,” a thought-provoking social commentary on sanity. This hilarious play offered a satirical look at two madmen who, realizing that madness is more affordable, ultimately choosing to embrace insanity.

The heartfelt performance “Maami,” a touching comedic portrayal of familial bonds during a wedding fundraiser, added layers of depth and emotion. The night culminated in “Hello,” a gripping dialogue between God and Lucifer inspired by Adele’s classic song, leaving the audience mesmerized and inspired.

The highlight of the night was the overwhelming support and enthusiasm of the attendees, who filled the venue with cheers and applause throughout the performances. Their energy elevated the atmosphere to new heights.

If you missed this unforgettable event, do not worry. There is more to come!!! TALP (TAFTA Action Learning Project) X is a stage play event held every quarter.

Follow @Tafta_academy on social media to stay in the loop about upcoming performances. This is your chance to be part of a transformative cultural experience that celebrates creativity and empowers the next generation of Nigerian artists and entrepreneurs.

Also, if you are a Nigerian youth with a passion for the arts, a new cohort is starting August 8th, 2024. Visit the TAFTA website to stay updated on the call for entry and other news. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in the industry and to develop your talents to their fullest potential.


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NIGCOMSAT, BON Partner to Enhance Broadcasting Services

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NIGCOMSAT Limited, Nigeria’s satellite communication infrastructure provider, says it has begun a collaborative partnership with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to provide uplink services.

NIGCOMSAT, BON Partner to Enhance Broadcasting Services

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Aisha Bantam, spokesperson, NIGCOMSAT Limited,  on Wednesday. The company said this strategic alliance aims to improve the quality and reach of broadcasting services for BON members across the country for a period of three months.

According to Bantam, the development which aligns with the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy under the supervision of the Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, will see NIGCOMSAT leverage its state-of-the-art satellite technology to empower BON and its member organisations.

“This partnership will enable BON to seamlessly access NIGCOMSAT’s reliable and high-performance uplink services, ensuring their broadcast signals are delivered with unparalleled quality and consistency to viewers nationwide,” Bantam said.

Mrs. Jane Egerton-Idehen, managing director/chief executive officer, NIGCOMSAT Ltd, said the company is committed to driving digital transformation and enhancing connectivity across Nigeria.

She said: “By collaborating with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, considering the strong influence it has in the media space and its contributions to the development of the society, we have the opportunity to elevate the country’s broadcasting landscape and bring the benefits of satellite technology to millions of Nigerians who rely on these vital services”, she added.

“The collaboration will commence immediately with NIGCOMSAT’s technical team working closely with BON to integrate their systems and ensure a seamless transition. This partnership underscores NIGCOMSAT’s dedication to supporting the growth and development of Nigeria’s media and communications sectors, ultimately empowering citizens with access to reliable and informative content,” the stated noted.

 


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