The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has given the Nigeria Government 30 days to respond to the suit filed by One Love Foundation vide human rights lawyer, Samuel Ihensekhien Jnr on behalf of the group’s president, Patrick Eholor.
Eholor in the suite, is seeking damages and restraint order against the Federal Government of Nigeria and Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), from enforcing section 5,4,3,1 of the NBC code on all broadcasting stations, as it relates to reportage and giving full details of security issues and giving particulars of persons affected by security issues in Nigeria as same actions offends all relevant laws and the Africa Charter on Media and Broadcasting Rights and Freedom of the Press.
The foundation had in a suit No. ECW/CCJ/APP/43/21 sought an order of court directing Nigerian Government and the NBC, an agency under the government who are the defendant in this suit, to desist from enforcing section 5,4,3,1of NBC code on all broadcasting stations, as it relates to broadcasting stations and not to give reportage and giving full details of security issues and particulars of persons affected by security issues in Nigeria as same action offends all relevant laws and Africa Charter on Free Speech.
In a “Notice of Registration” dated 28th July 2021, the court asked the Nigerian Government to file a defense within thirty (30) days after service of the application.
The notice read “Notice is hereby given that an application between Patrick Eholor and the Federal Republic of Nigeria was lodged by the applicant and registered by the court on the 28th July 2021.
“You are required to lodge a defence within thirty (30) day after service of this application on you and take note that in default of your so doing, the applicant may proceed herein and judgement may be given in your absence”.
The suit is also challenging the clampdown on broadcasting organisations by FG and NBC, the action which by the said suit was in variance to Section 24, 33 of the Nigeria constitution,1999 (as amended in 2011) which guaranteed the rights to Freedom of Press, Expression and Information as also contained in Articles 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the constitution of federal republic of Nigeria ,1999 as amended in 2011.