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Man drags MTN, Airtel, Glo, others to court over ban on phone lines

A rights campaigner, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, on Monday, filed a suit before a Federal High Court Lagos, against telecommunications companies in Nigeria, challenging the recent…

A rights campaigner, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, on Monday, filed a suit before a Federal High Court Lagos, against telecommunications companies in Nigeria, challenging the recent barring of phone lines of citizens.

The applicant joined as responders to his suit: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Mada Chief Executive Officer of NCC, and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc.

Other respondents are: Airtel Networks Nigeria Ltd. Globacom Ltd and Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS 9 Mobile).

In his affidavit, the applicant avers that sometime in January, the respondents had threatened to bar or deactivate the mobile lines of Nigerians, whose phone lines were not linked with their National Identification Number (NIN).

He avers that following this threat, he had proceeded to court and obtained an order on Feb. 22, restraining the respondents from barring or deactivating the phone lines of Nigerians, pending the determination of the suit.

According to the applicant, to his amazement, he discovered that on Feb. 28, his mobile lines as well as those of many Nigerians, had been barred by the respondents in defiance of a subsisting court order.

The applicant, therefore, now seeks a declaration that the act by the respondents in barring and deactivating the lines of Nigerians from Feb. 28 till date, despite a subsisting court order, is wrongful and illegal.

He seeks a declaration that the respondents being a creation of law, are subject to the court of law and its judicial powers, and are under an obligation to obey same.

He consequently, seeks an order, setting aside the entire directives, restricting the phone lines of Nigerians.

The applicant also wants an order directing the respondents to immediately unlock and unrestrict the phone lines of affected Nigerians.

He claims the sum of N10 billion against the telecom companies, as exemplary damages for their unlawful restrictions on phone lines of Nigerians.

The applicant also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the responders from taking further steps or action against such affected citizens in relation to the facts of the case.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the new suit. (NAN)

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