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Femi Davies wins as court nullifies Lai Mohammed over broadcasting code

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The federal high court in Lagos has declared illegal the amended 6th edition of the national broadcasting code.

On August 4, 2020, Lai Mohammed, the minister of information, had launched the amended 6th edition of the code which has been criticised by industry stakeholders.

The code seeks to regulate content exclusivity, enforce content sharing and empower the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to determine prices at which content is sold to sub-licensees by rights holders.

In his ruling, on Thursday, Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, the presiding judge, said the amendment of the broadcasting code are ultra vires, incompetent, null and void and perpetually restrained the NBC from implementing the document.

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The court also declared that the NBC does not have the power to prohibit exclusivity and compel sub-licensing of privately acquired rights to television content as such is against the constitution and the copyright act.

The ruling was delivered in a suit filed by Otunba Femi Davies, a Lagos-based journalist and movie producer, who had approached the court contending among other things that the amendment sought by the NBC to the 6th edition of the code violates his rights to own intellectual property and exercise exclusive rights on such.

On its part, the NBC submitted that the amendment to the broadcasting code was done to protect local operators, promote creativity and maximise local content via the anti-trust provisions contained in the amendment.

The commission also claimed that the amendment to the code was aimed at stimulating growth in the broadcasting industry by attracting foreign investment.

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But Davies argued, among other things, that if allowed, the amendment would greatly violate his right to a fair hearing and asked the court to uphold his six reliefs as set out in his originating summons.

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The reliefs include, “a declaration that the NBC lacks the requisite vires to prohibit exclusivity on privately acquired intellectual property right in program content of a right-holder viz-a-viz the salient provisions of the constitution and the Copyright Act.

“A declaration that the commission acted ultra-vires so far as it sought to regulate the practice of advertising in Nigeria contrary to the provisions of the extant Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc) Act, 2004.

“A declaration that the commission acted ultra vires when it sought to retroactively compel right holders of programme content to compulsorily share extant rights acquired under existing licence under the proposed amendment to the 6th edition of the NBC code.

“A declaration that the commission acted ultra vires when it sought to retroactively compel right holders of programme content to compulsorily share extant rights acquired through a partnership and /or joint venture with an investor under the proposed Amendment to NBC Code.”

In his judgment, Lewis-Allagoa ruled that acquisition of exclusive rights to broadcast a particular programme is an investment for returns and no one should be forced to surrender the same when it is lawfully acquired.

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“I am in agreement with the plaintiff counsel that the said proposed amendment is a violation of the principle of fair hearing and natural justice,” the judge said.

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“I have determined the questions in the originating summon in favour of the plaintiff.

“For reasons given, consequently, all the reliefs sought by the plaintiff are granted as prayed. That is the judgment of the court.”

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Three electrocuted in Ogun market

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No fewer than three people, including a mother and child, were reportedly electrocuted at Mowe Market in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The incident reportedly happened on Monday following the restoration of power after the Sunday downpour.

The Chairman of the Local Government, Ambassador Adesina Ogunsola, during his visit to the market on Wednesday gave a seven-day notice to all the traders with shops and stalls under the high-tension powerline to vacate to forestall the recurrence of the tragic incident.

An eyewitness said that the electric shock was from the step-down transformer suspended on an electrical pole next to the shop where the incident happened, just as the shop owners arrived for their daily sales in the market.

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The woman and her son were said to have been burnt beyond recognition.

The Director of Information at the Obafemi Owode Local Government, Segun Soneye, confirmed the incident to our Correspondent on Thursday

Soneye, in a statement, blamed the incident on the erection of shops made of iron under the powerline by the traders.

He said, “The chairman of the council had visited the affected shop owners and commiserated with them over the incident.

“The LG boss has already given shop owners a seven-day ultimatum to evacuate their make-shift shops built under the high tension powerline to forestall the recurrence of the incident.”

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Speaking during his visit to the market, Ogunsola who commiserated with the families of the victims, also blamed the incident on the nonchalant attitude of the.

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The LG boss wondered why people would disregard safety rules and have their shops close to electrical poles that carry step-down transformers.

Ogunsola, while giving the vacation order to the traders with shops and stalls under the powerline, said, “Let me also say that everyone that has extended its shop beyond where it should be, particularly those under high-tension cables should start removing it from today.”

The police spokesman, Omolola Odutola, also confirmed the incident but said only the mother, Ujuwa Okechukwu, died from the incident.

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Crime

Correctional service to publicly display fleeing inmates’ details

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The Nigerian Correctional Service has said it would soon display the names and pictures of the fleeing inmates from the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Suleja, Niger State.

The Spokesperson NCoS, Federal Capital Territory Command, Adamu Duza, disclosed this to our correspondent on Thursday.

Theheute reports that a relentless downpour on Wednesday night wreaked havoc on the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Suleja, Niger State, resulting in extensive damage to the facility and facilitating the escape of 118 inmates.

The downpour caused severe damage to the custodial centre’s infrastructure, including a breach in the perimeter fence, allowing inmates to flee.

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However, 10 fleeing inmates had been recaptured.

Speaking with Theheute, Duza noted that the command was collaborating with other security agencies to recapture the remaining fleeing inmates, adding that their database would soon be made known to the public.
The Medium Security Custodial Centre in Suleja, Niger State, after the damage caused by the downpour.

He noted, “Our intelligence officers, armed squadron officers, in collaboration with the Nigeria police force, DSS, and other security agencies are combing neighbouring communities to find the fleeing inmates.

“Very soon, we shall publish the names and pictures of the fleeing inmates.”

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Crime

Oyo police arrest alleged killer of corper in Ogbomoso

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The Oyo State Police Command, on Thursday, announced the arrest of some officers, led by one inspector, Rasheed Saheed, who was involved in the alleged killing of a corper, Damilola Iyanda, in the Ogbomoso axis of the state.

Theheute reports that a police officer allegedly shot a member of the National Youth Service Corps, identified as Damilola, to death in the Ogbomoso Local Government Area of the state.

The late Damilola was serving in Ibadan, the state capital.

Oluwafemi Iyanda, who graduated from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, and the deceased’s brother, said his late brother attended his convocation, after which they headed for an after-party the same day where he was shot dead by the trigger-happy cop.

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The police command, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said the officers involved in the shooting have been detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku.

The police spokesperson said the Commissioner of Police, Hamzat Adebola, had ordered that the case be taken up by the Homicide Department of the SCID, with the Deputy Commissioner of Police directly in charge of the investigations.

He said, “The command wishes to clear the air about the unfortunate shooting incident that occurred, on Monday, April 22, 2024, at about 0130 hours around a popular nightclub along, “Under G” area, Owode-Ogbomoso, resulting in the demise of Damilola, ‘m’.

“The investigation report reveals that during the early hours of the same date and time, a distress call was received by Operatives of the Command’s Monitoring Unit stationed within Ogbomoso through the director of a popular nightclub within the axis, requesting immediate intervention and protection from rampaging suspected student cultists who were at the time harassing guests and destroying club property.

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The statement noted that, in a swift response to the call by the club director, a team of officers led by one inspector, Rasheed Saheed, arrived at the scene.

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According to the statement, the altercation worsened as deliberate efforts were made by the suspected cultists to prevent the police from further gaining access to the crime scene as shots were allegedly fired from different angles, including from the intervening officers who fired warning shots to disperse onlookers.

“The incident recorded the death of one Damilola, ‘m’, and the injury of his brother, one Iyanda Femi Israel, who has since been discharged from the hospital after treatment.

“Worthy of note is that the CP has ordered that the case be taken up by the Homicide Department of the SCID with the Deputy Commissioner of Police directly in charge of the investigations,” the statement said.

He said all the officers involved in the incident, including Inspector Saheed, were currently under detention at the SCID, Iyaganku.

The command, therefore, assured members of the public, particularly the student community, of the swift dispensation of Justice.

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