The Supreme Court on Friday declared that the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) lacked the regulatory power over activities of retailers of film, music and video products.
The NFVCB had approached the court, challenging 2012 decision of the Court of Appeal, Akure, which upheld a 2004 judgment of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, in favour of the retailers.
The board had raided the shops of some retailers of film, video and music products in Osogbo, Osun, on the ground that they were operating illegally having not registered with it.
Dissatisfied with the board’s action, the retailers, led by Akinola Adegboyega and two others, sued the board to challenge its claim against them.
The Court of Appeal, had gone on to affirm the judgment of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, which decided the matter in favour of the retailers.
Also dissatisfied with that outcome, the board approached the Supreme Court, asking it to upturn the judgment of the lower court.
But, in his judgment, Justice Kayode Ariwoola declared that the NFVCB Act did not empower the board to oversee the registration of retailers of film, music and video products before they could operate.
Mr Ariwoola, whose judgment was read by Justice Paul Galinje, therefore, said that the board, in the eyes of the law, lacked the powers to control the operations of the retailers of such products.
The judge held that the decision of the court hinged on the fact that the retailers either operated viewing centres or charged fees for the viewing of video, film and musical products.
Mr Ariwoola also held that the obvious gap in the board’s enabling Act must be amended to include regulation on procurement and delivery of film, musical and video products by retailers.
“It would require the amendment of the NFVCB Act to address the apprehension of the board and the problems it sought to address.
“Until then, the appeal before the court is unmeritorious, and therefore the judgment of the lower court is affirmed,’’ he said.