The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) suit against the National Broadcasting Commission on N9m fine impose on media houses for covering the Lekki Toll gate shooting during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings by Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of Nigeria Police Force in Lagos.
This is coming as the right group also asked the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to probe false posting on the Ministry’s official Twitter handle of the ongoing court proceedings in the lawsuit against him and the NBC.
It would be recalled that SERAP had in the suit asked the court to declare as arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional the N9m fines imposed on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV over their coverage of the EndSARS protests, and to stop the NBC from collecting the money.
Concerned by the alleged claims, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said that it was surprising that after last Friday hearing by the court, the ministry posted on its Twitter handle a story falsely claiming that the suit had been dismissed.
Through a statement released to newsmen on Sunday, Oluwadare said that it was disappointing that the ministry, which was yet to file any court process in response to the suit, posted and promoted on its social media handle a story claiming that the suit against it and the NBC had been struck out.
“The posting on the Ministry’s Twitter handle threatens to impede or prejudice the outcome of this case. For the sake of a fair administration of justice, the rule of law, and consistency, we urge Mr Lai Mohammed to promptly and thoroughly probe the false posting, and ensure that the story is immediately removed from the Ministry’s Twitter handle and its other platforms.
“Freedom of expression and media freedom are a prerequisite to any serious fight against corruption and impunity. We will continue to fight to protect these fundamental freedoms. Cases are won in court, and not on social media. We will see the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed in court in March 2021, equipped with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and international human rights law,” the statement said.