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Omirhobo sues FG, others over ban on broadcast of terrorism activities

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Malcolm Omirhobo

Human rights activist and lawyer, Chief Malcom Omirhobo has sued the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) at the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying the court to declare that the ban on broadcast stations from reporting details of activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorist attacks by NBC is illegal and unconstitutional.

The plaintiff asked the court to determine whether the ban does not constitute a lawful restriction on freedom of the Press and the right of the plaintiff and the Nigerian public to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers, as guaranteed under Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution; Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights; Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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In his originating summon, the plaintiff prayed for an order, compelling the defendants, their servants, or agents to respect freedom of the Press and the right to freedom of the plaintiff and that of Nigerians to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.

“An order of the court compelling the defendants, their servants, agents and/or privies to respect the power confers on the law enforcement agencies to establish, maintain and secure communications, both domestic and international, to facilitate the rapid exchange of information concerning acts that constitute terrorism and to partner with Civil Society Organizations and the Nigerian public to provide the necessary education, support, information, awareness, and sensitisation towards the prevention and elimination of acts of terrorism,” he prayed.

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He also asked for a perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants from interfering with the freedom of the Press and the right of the plaintiff and that of Nigerians to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media.

Supported by 29 paragraph affidavit deposed to, the plaintiff, he averred that the ban of broadcast stations from reporting details of activities of bandits, kidnappers, and terrorist attacks by the 3rd defendant violates freedom of the Press and the rights of the plaintiff and that of Nigerians.

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He swore that unless the court grants the reliefs being sought, the defendants will continue to violate freedom of the Press and the rights of the plaintiff and the Nigerian Public to freedom to hold opinions without interference.

According to him, it is in the interest of justice, equity, and good conscience that the reliefs sought were granted.

“That the defendants will not in any way be prejudiced by the grants of the reliefs sought in this suit,” he deposed.

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