Radio Fulani: Lawyer Drags Buhari to Court

By Jude Atupulazi

A legal luminary and retired Army Captain, Casmir Nwafor, from Anambra State, has taken the Federal Government of Nigeria to court over the planned establishment of a radio station for the Fulani.

In the originating Summon filed at the Federal High Court Enugu, and supported by a 26 paragraph affidavit deposed by the Applicant and accompanied by 7 exhibits, Barrister Nwafor is asking the court to declare as unlawful the application for a license to operate a Radio Station to be transmitted strictly in the Fulani Language by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE). The matter has been listed for 25 July 2019.

The suit, Fides gathered, was filed as the action violated Sec 9(1) (e) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act of Nigeria. The section provided that no radio or television station should be established for ethnic purposes and any action that may annoy the sensibilities of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Speaking to Fides in Awka, Nwafor said the proposed action of the Federal Government was in breach of Section 55 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended which provided for the use of Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba languages in addition to English for proceedings in the National Assembly.

He said, ‘Nowhere was Fulani Language mentioned. By implication and by the Golden Rule interpretation of our laws, it follows that these 3 languages are the recognized official languages for the country, not wishing away other languages. It is therefore illegal and unlawful for the government to set up a radio station to promote the language and culture of a particular ethnic group when we have over 250 ethnic groups and languages in Nigeria, using national fund and paraphernalia.’

Nwafor argued that such action, if allowed to stand, would fuel suspicion from other tribes, as well as generate bad blood that may lead to violence, amid the current national security crisis.
He noted that already, associations like CAN, the middle belt, Afenifere, Ohaneze, Ijaw National Council, among others, had risen against the establishment of the radio station.
‘These are symptoms of emerging national security breakdown. As a lawyer and a retired Nigerian Army officer, I owe it as a duty to stop anything that is a violation of the Constitution or other laws of Nigeria and also save the country from sliding into violence and insecurity that may snowball into a war situation.

The Originating Summons is praying the Court to answer the following questions: Whether the Proposed establishment of a Radio station to be transmitted strictly in Fulani Language by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) is not contrary to Section 9(1)(e) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap 55 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.

‘Whether the proposed establishment of a radio station to be transmitted strictly in the Fulani Language by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) is not contrary to Section 55 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

‘Whether the proposed establishment of a radio station to be transmitted in the Fulani Language by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) will not cause bad blood among the ethnic groups that constitute Nigeria and lead to a war situation and thus a threat to National Security.’

In a written address in support of the originating summons, the Applicant seeks against the Respondents the following reliefs:

An Order declaring as unlawful the application for a license to operate a radio station to be transmitted strictly in the Fulani Language by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE).

An Order declaring as unlawful, null and void, the approval/license given by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to the Federal Government through the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) to operate a radio station to be transmitted strictly in the Fulani Language in Nigeria.

An order revoking the license given to the Federal Government by the National Broadcasting Commission through the National Commission for Nomadic Education to operate a radio station to be transmitted strictly in the Fulani Language in Nigeria.

A order of perpetual injunction against all the Respondents from applying, approving or issuing any license for the establishment of a radio station to be transmitted strictly in Fulani or any other native language in Nigeria respectively.

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