The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has filed legal action against the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the controversial sixth Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The lawmakers filed the suit through their lawyers Segun Fiki and Johnmary Jideobi before the Federal High Court in Abuja, according to the originating summon obtained by The Nation.
Listed in the suit as plaintiffs are caucus leader Kingsley Chinda, his deputy Chukwuma Onyema, caucus deputy whip Ajibola Muraina, Mark Gbillah, Tyough Robert, Bulus Solomon, Rimamnde Kwewum, Yusuf Tajudeen and Onyema Chukwuma.
The lawmakers are praying the court to determine whether by the “provisions of Section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code enacted/issued by the 1st Defendant which created the purported offences of ‘hate speech’ and ‘fake news’ and correspondingly purported to have imposed penalties is not unconstitutional, null and void.”
Since the broadcasting code was amended, several sections have generated controversy among the pubic including the increase of the hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5million.
The legislators are also, among other things, asking the court to declare that the amended broadcasting code is “unconstitutional, null and void, especially since the said offences and penalties set out in the code, have not been defined and/or prescribed in any written law by the National Assembly of Nigeria”.
The suit which is yet to be assigned to a judge is supported by an affidavit of 15 paragraphs deposed to by Francis Obalim and a written address dated September 9.