An Abuja Federal High Court has barred the National Broadcasting Commission from imposing fines on Nigerian broadcast stations.
Presiding Judge James Omotosho, in a Wednesday ruling, said the NBC lacked the judicial powers to impose penalties.
Omotosho gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the NBC from imposing fines, henceforth, on broadcast stations in the country.
He also set aside the N500,000 fines imposed, on March 1, 2019, on each of the 45 broadcast stations.
Justice Omotosho held that the NBC, not being a court of law, had no power to impose sanctions as punishment on broadcast stations.
He further held that the NBC Code, which gives the commission the power to impose sanction, is in conflict with Section 6 of the Constitution that vested judicial power in the court of law.
He said the court would not sit idle and watch a body imposing fine arbitrarily without recourse to the law.
He said that the commission did not comply with the law when it sat as a complainant and at the same time, the court and the judge on its own matter.
The judge agreed that the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, being a subsidiary legislation that empowers an administrative body such as the NBC to enforce its provisions cannot confer judicial powers on the commission to impose criminal sanctions or penalties such as fines.
He also agreed that the commission, not being Nigerian police, had no power to conduct criminal investigation that would lead to criminal trial and imposition of sanctions.
Omotosho held that what the doctrine sought to achieve was to prevent tyranny by concentrating too much powers in one organ.