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8 Jun 2018

Censors Board Can’t Control Film, Music, Video Retailers Says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday defined the relationship between the National Film and Video Censors Board and retailers of film, music and video products.
The apex court in a judgement said the NFVCB, by virtue of the law that established it, lacked the power to regulate the activities of retailers of film, music and video products.

A five-man bench of the apex court also unanimously held on Friday that the NFVCB had no powers to compel film, music and video retailers to register with it before operating.

The Supreme Court, in the lead judgment prepared by Justice Kayode Ariwoola, adopted the reasoning on the basis that neither does the NFVCB own viewing centres nor charge fees for the viewing of such video, film or musical products.

Justice Paul Galinje read the lead judgment on behalf of Justice Ariwoola on Friday.

The judgement was on an appeal marked, SC/395/2012, filed by the NFVCB against the 2012 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Akure, which upheld the 2004 judgment of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, given in favour of the retailers.

NFVCB had raided some retailers of film, video and music products in Osogbo, Osun State, claiming they were operating illegally because they have not registered with the board.

The retailers, led by Akinola Adegboyega and two others, approached the Federal High Court to challenge NFVCB’s claim.

The Federal High Court held in their favour, a decision the NFVCB appealed at the Court of Appeal, Akure.

The Appeal Court dismissed the appeal for being unmeritorious and upheld the decision of the Federal High Court.

The NFVCB further appealed to the Supreme Court, an appeal which the apex court decided on Friday against the appellant.

But ruling on Friday, the apex court held that to be able to exercise control over the retailers the law would need amendment.

According to the court, it would require the amendment of the NFVCB Act to address the apprehension of the board and the problems it sought to address by seeking to control the activities of the retailers of film, video and music products.

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