OYOGist.com has learned that one Inibehe Effiong, a human right lawyer and activist has allegedly charged to Court, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government, and the NBC for altering the Broadcast Code and for inflating the fine for hate speech from five hundred thousand naira to 5 million naira.
In the Federal High Court in Lagos, the Lawyer Iibehe questioned the imposition of N5m fine on INFO 99.3FM Lagos and the warning by National Broadcasting Commission to penalize other stations in Nigeria over hate speech.
The suit comes days after the National Broadcasting Commission NBC fined INFO 99.3FM for granting an interview to an EX Governor of CBN, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, who claimed that an anonymous northern governor used to be a Leader of the deadly terrorist Boko Haram.
The NBC had threatened that any Broadcasting station (TV/ Radio)that lets in elected officers to be humiliated on its platform would be fined N5m or be banned.
The board also alleged that Mohammed hijacked the responsibility of the NBC and single-handedly hiked the exceptional for hate speech without consultation.
The lawyer asserted that “abusing” or “insulting” the government cannot be criminalised in a democracy.
He contended that the expression “hate speech” is not established under any written constitutions and cannot be invoked or penalized based on the impulsive motives of the Respondents.
According to the Lawyer to do otherwise “will amount to setting fire to the constitution” and that “those who are paid with taxpayers’ money cannot be insured or protected from insults and abuse by the citizens”
Inibehe Effiong reminded the court that “Nigeria has passed the era of military dictatorship. And therefore, called on the court to make “a provision for a fair trial before a court of competent jurisdiction as guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution, before a sentence of fine or other penalties can be imposed on anyone over a speech, comments or opinions expressed on the radio and in the TV Stations.”