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DAAR seeks court protection on network license

THIS may not be happy times for Daar Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, RayPower, DaarSat and other broadcast stations.

The company which recently cried out that it has not been paid by LOC for providing most of the facilities for the broadcast of FIFA Nigeria 2009, including High Definition OB Vans and International Broadcast Centre (IBC), is now in court, trying to protect the network license which it said was approved by the  President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Daar was acting against the reported plan of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revoke the network licence of the organization.
The company said that although not explicitly pronounced, but recent network licence auction by the NBC which recognized only the government stations as network operators invalidates the action of the President and jeopardizes its ability to carry out its operations.

Meanwhile, in answering the prayers by Daar as presented by its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the defendants – the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications and the Attorney-General of the Federation to suspend all actions seeking the revocation, suspension or cancellation of the existing licence of the company pending the determination and hearing of the motion on notice. He also ordered all parties to maintain the status quo ante.

Hi-Tech gathered that Daar had complained very bitterly about the auction process to the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili, appealing for immediate intervention to remedy the process and if possible set it aside so that the administration of justice in the broadcast and information sectors are not to be thrown into disrepute nationally and internationally.

The NBC bid document dated September 3, 2009, according to Daar sources, allegedly recognized only the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) as network operators.

The process was to licence one privately-owned commercial broadcast radio network and one Privately-owned commercial Broadcast Television Network. Daar obviously did not see itself in the equation thus compelling it to go to court after the appeal to the Minister.

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