Friday, March 27, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: NCC files stay of execution of Judgment on APC

 … On ban of political shortcodes
Paul Usoro, SAN, counsel to NCC
As predicted by ITRealms, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has file a stay of execution of judgment over the suit in which the All Progressive Congress (APC) was claiming discrimination and was awarded N500m last Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

This follows a notice of appeal against the judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) violated the rights of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and awarded N500m as damages against the Commission.

The legal counsel to NCC, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who made the application stated in a motion for stay of execution of judgement, the presiding judge erred in some seven instances.

NCC’s appeal, ITRealms gathered was in reaction to the judgement of March 24, 2015.

ITRealms recalled that APC filed its suit in January challenging the directive of the NCC contained in its letter of January 19, 2015 advising service providers not to be partisan in their advertisements and promotions run by them.

According to APC, this directive violated its fundamental human rights and there after claimed reliefs including monetary damages principally against the Commission and five other mobile operators namely, MTN, Etisalat, Glo, Airtel and Visafone.

Usoro, therefore pointed out that a notice of preliminary objection of March 2, 2015 challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Lagos on the grounds that the suit disclosed no cause of action against NCC and APC’s claims and reliefs are alien to the provision of chapter iv of the 1999 constitution, were ignored by the judge.

The judge dismissed NCC’s preliminary objection on the grounds that the suit was indeed a fundamental human right suit, disclosed a cause of action against the Commission and granted generous damages of N500m to APC.

Usoro said that the stay of execution of the judgement and injunction are necessary pending the appeal. 

The Commission secured on Friday March 27, 2015 to settle the records of Appeal transmission to the Court of Appeal.

He also said that the stay of execution of judgement is to arrest and stop the colossal damages granted by the Federal High Court in favour of APC.

Usoro stressed that it is primarily to prevent APC from going ahead in executing or complying with the judgement pending the Appeal filed by the Commission.

“Whilst the injunction pending appeal will restrain the APC and indeed other respondents in the suit from implementing or enforcing or giving effect howsoever to the orders of the court as contained in the judgement, pending the determination of the Appeal filed by the NCC,” Usoro explained. 

The Appeal is on eight solid grounds including that:
·        1. The judge erred in law when he dismissed the Appellant’s  notice of  preliminary objection of March 2, 2015; which challenged the competence of the suit on the grounds that it was unmeritorious;

·        2. The learned  trial judge erred in law when he said the suit of the APC disclosed cause of action;

·     3.   The trial court misdirected itself in law and fact when it held that the suit fell under the context of chapter iv of the Nigerian constitution, of 1999 as amended;

·      4.  The trial court erred in law and occasioned grave miscarriage of justice;

·       5. The trial judge erred in law when he held that the Appellant has indeed discriminated against APC,

·      6.  The learned trial judge misdirected itself in law and on facts when it awarded N500m damages and compensation for APC.

·     7.   The judgement is against the weight of evidence and submissions before the trial court, among others.

Usoro further confirmed that though the appeal has been filed, but there no date yet fixed for the hearing of the stay in an Appeal Court.

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