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Court fixes Sept 27 to hear suit seeking to ‘wind up CNN Africa in Nigeria’

Court fixes Sept 27 to hear suit seeking to ‘wind up CNN Africa in Nigeria’
July 01
17:09 2021

The federal high court in Lagos, has fixed September 27, 2021 to hear a suit seeking the winding up and forfeiture of CNN Africa’s assets in Nigeria.

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In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1839/2020, KeneChukwu Okeke, human rights activist and applicant, claimed that CNN Africa and Stephanie Busari — a staff member of the news outlet — breached the requirements of sections 78, 79, 80 of the companies and allied matters act, 2020 and section 2 (2) & 9 (1) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act, 1992 (as amended) by establishing a “multi-platform office bureau” for the production and transmission of sound or vision, including featured contents through cable and satellite broadcasts in Nigeria.

Unregistered companies in Nigeria are subject to winding up procedures as are registered companies and organisations. 

For unregistered companies, the courts may declare that it is fair and equitable for the company to be wound up.

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Similarly, foreign companies are liable to prosecution if they fail to fulfill the requirements of the companies and allied matters act.

Chuka Obiozor, who was originally the presiding judge over the case, was redeployed to Benin when the federal high court reshuffled its judges, and as a result, the matter was re-assigned to a new judge, T.G. Ringim, for hearing.

But when the matter came up in court on Thursday, Ringim adjourned the case till September 27 for hearing.

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Okeke’s run-in with CNN dates back to shortly after the Lekki tollgate shooting incident in October 2020.

In November 2020, the activist had asked the Lagos state judicial panel to summon CNN over its report on the shooting at Lekki tollgate, and said he had filed criminal proceedings against the news outlet.

CNN had published an investigation on the Lekki incident, alleging that soldiers used live rounds on protesters who had converged on Lekki tollgate on October 20.

Okeke had sued 50 persons for promoting the #EndSARS protests, and also instituted legal action against CNN Africa, after he demanded a retraction of the story on the incident at Lekki tollgate.

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Speaking on the suit in a series of tweets in December 2020, Okechukwu accused CNN of “tax evasion amid other illegalities”, adding that foreign media organisations “must respect the sovereignty and laws of the federal republic of Nigeria (including regulations thereof), and also treat the population with respect, courtesy, acting with impartiality, integrity and respect for diversity”.

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