Radio Station Sues Broadcast Regulator for Prolonged Closure

Mallam Is'haq Modibbo Kawu
Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, Director General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

Jay FM 101.9, a private radio station based in the Plateau State capital, Jos, has sued the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and its zonal director over the prolonged closure of the station.

In its originating summons, JODAJ Global Communications, owners of Jay FM 101.9, sought an order of mandatory injunction of Jos Federal High Court to compel the NBC and its Zonal Director for Plateau, Benue and Bauchi States, Dr. Igomu Onoja, to immediately re-open the station and for the court to direct the NBC to pay it the sum of N500 million as general and exemplary damages.

It also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining NBC and the zonal director or their agents from shutting down its operations or interfering or trespassing into its premises in Jos as well as an order setting aside the levy imposed by the NBC on it.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Jay FM, Mr. Clinton Garuba, disclosed the stations actions in a statement issued on April 11, 2019 saying it became necessary to seek justice against the regulatory body and alleging that the NBC had submitted itself to manipulations by some highly- placed power players.

Clinton said: “NBC failed to explain how Jay FM was involved in any form of breach or improper conduct that would warrant a heavy and unfair sanction as a shutdown. This action amounts to double jeopardy to issue punishment a second time for the same offence.”

On the 28th Feb 2019 Operative of the Department of State Services (DSS), stormed the office of Jay FM and insisted that one of is senior staff follows them to their office.

On March 1, 2019, Clinton was also invited and released at about 7:20pm there after NBC ordered the immediate shut down of the station indefinitely for alleged breach of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

Prior to the shutdown, three of its management staff: Orji Ojingwa, the station’s head of engineering; Mangna Yusuf, Jay FM’s station manager; and Clinton, had earlier been invited by the DSS and questioned about the station’s coverage of the February 23 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, particularly its reporting on Jos North/Bassa local government districts before the NBC ordered the station to be shut down.

Jay FM was one of the 45 stations sanctioned by the NBC in March for alleged breach of the Nigerian Broadcasting in relation to the 2019 general elections and fined N500,000.00 each.