Lawyer Wants MTN’s Suit against NCC Dismissed

A Lagos based lawyer, Tope Alabi, has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, to throw out a suit, Initiated by MTN Nigeria, against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The lawyer argued that the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on the telecommunications giant remains in order, while adding that the telecoms firm has no reasonable case against NCC.

Alabi said, “Granting MTN’s reliefs will result in people breaking one law and hiding under another law to escape liability.”

Specifically, MTN is asking the court to quash the $3.9billion sanction imposed on it by NCC, due to failure to disconnect unregistered subscribers.

More so, counsel to MTN, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), is questioning the powers of the NCC to impose the said fine.

However, Alabi, who in an application sought to be joined as an interested party, argued that the suit filed by MTN was an abuse of court process that must not be tolerated.

The lawyer added that, “For over three years, NCC had directed all service providers to register their SIM cards already sold and in circulation. I duly registered my line sometime in 2012 and MTN called me in 2013 to obtain further information towards completing the registration.

“The First Defendant (NCC) gave a time limit for all subscribers to register their SIM cards. The time limit was also extended repeatedly. The Plaintiff was in default to register 5,200,000 subscribers.

“The Plaintiff could register all the 5,200,000 subscribers SIMs in default within the time limit and extended time given by the First Defendant. I believe other service providers such as Airtel, GLO, Etisalat, Starcomm strictly complied with the First Defendant’s directives without defaulting; except the Plaintiff.

“The Plaintiff never denied it defaulted in registration of the 5,200,000 subscribers. The fine imposed on the Plaintiff by the First Defendant is in order. The suit of the Plaintiff with reliefs sought therein will encourage a culture of impunity in Nigeria.

“The law under which the Plaintiff is subject to liability is justice-able and valid. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application for the applicant to defend this suit within the purview of the law.”

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