Nigeria: PDP Wants MTN Licence Revoked

(THEWILL) – The supposedly deadened rumpus generated by allegations of communication between the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami and chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) during the 2010 Appeal Court contest of gubernatorial elections in Osun and Ekiti States has again been resuscitated, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) approaching a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for an order compelling the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to revoke the licence of MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd.

In the suit filed by former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Osun and Ekiti chapters of the party, they alleged failure of NCC to protect them from MTN’s unfair practices.

They claimed that MTN supplied incomplete data when asked to furnish the National Judicial Council with call logs containing the alleged conversations between Justice Ayo Salami and leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria prior to Oyinlola’s removal from office.

“MTN deliberately frustrated the work of the panel by providing inadequate and incomplete call data records and thus manipulated same,” the statement of claim filed by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Adebisi Raimi, read. “The action of MTN to deliberately frustrate the work of the NJC panel by providing inadequate and incomplete call data records constituted gross professional and ethical misconduct.”

The statement also claimed that MTN forwarded to NJC call data records containing only the originating component and deliberately withheld the terminating components, which left the NJC with no option but to declare the call logs as lacking in evidentiary value.

A part of it read: “MTN deliberately omitted the months of September, October and November 2010 from the call data records forwarded to the NJC panel, to effectively obliterate records of the period of communication between the following individuals: Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami (08034004887), Tunji Ijaiya (08034010700), Tunde Folawiyo Lagos State Governor (08034240000), Gbadegesin Ademola (08062240104), Mohammed Rufu Lai, (08034301111), Lagos State Government (08034020700; 08033235280; 08034301122), Kayode Fayemi (0805555655), thereby blanking out the period immediately preceding the judgments of the Governorship Election Appeals in respect of Osun and Ekiti State.”

It accused MTN of deliberately misleading the NJC panel and perverting the course of justice in contravention of the Nigerian Communications Commission Act, and asked the court to order MTN to pay the sum of N150 Billion as compensation for general damages.

In his evidence on oath which was attached to the statement of claim, Oyinlola argued that if MTN had forwarded to the panel the authentic, adequate, complete, undistorted and bonafide call data records in respect of communication between the mentioned individuals, the report of the NJC Investigative Panel and the recommendations of the committee set up to review it would have been different.

“If the recommendations of the panel and the committee had been different, necessary legal action and steps would have been taken to ensure that their candidates in the 2007 gubernatorial elections, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State and Chief Segun Oni of Ekiti State, were reinstated,” he said.

He also said that the two candidates have been suffering unimaginable losses of integrity, prestige, image, finance and politics since their removal. The former governor expressed willingness to testify in the trial, alongside Adeolu Oyinlola, Assistant Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Osun State.

The Osun and the Ekiti chapters of the PDP wrote separate petitions to the NJC, alleging foul play in the judgment of the Court of Appeal that removed Oyinlola and Oni from office. An NJC panel was consequently inaugurated to investigate the petitions, but it found Justice Salami and other members of the Appeal Court guiltless.


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