NIN: Lawyer Slams N10bn Suit On NCC Boss, MTN, Zain, Glo Etisalat For Deactivating Subscribers’ Lines

A Lagos based-lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has instituted a N10 billion suit against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Aminu Maida, and four major telecom service providers in Nigeria, before a Lagos Federal High Court.

The four major telecom service providers listed as third to sixth defendants in a suit numbered FHC/L/363/2024 are; MTN Nigeria Communications Plc; Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited; Globacom Limited and Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS) popularly known as 9mobile.

Apart from the order for award of N10 billion as general damages, the lawyer also asked for the following reliefs: “a declaration that the act and action of further barring, restricting and deactivating of the applicant’s phone Lines/Sim Cards and the phone Lines/Sim Cards of Nigerian Citizens by the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th respondents, upon the directive of the 1st and 2nd Respondents from the 28th of February 2024 till date, despite a valid and subsisting order of court granted against the respondents is wrongful, illegal, unlawful, undemocratic, unconstitutional and thus prejudicial against Applicant’s and other affected Nigerian citizens fundamental rights to FAIR HEARING as enshrined under Section 36 of the 1399 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

“A declaration that the respondents being creations and creatures of law are subject to the Court of law and the judicial powers of the Courts of law and under a legal duty and constitutional obligation to obey valid and subsisting Order of Court as enshrined under section 6 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (As Amended). 

“An order setting aside the entire directive and all its consequential effects in Connection with the subject matter of this suit issued by the 1st and 2nd Respondents to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Respondents having been made in gross violation of a.valid and subsisting order of Court granted against the 

“An order compelling the respondents to jointly and severally to immediately activate, debar, unlock, unblock and unrestrict the applicant’s phone Lines/Sim Cards and the phone Lines/Sim Cards the affected Nigerian citizens forthwith. 

“An order compelling the respondents to jointly and severally tender a public apology to the applicant and other affected Nigerian Citizens and to pay the sum of N10 billion, only as general and exemplary damages for the prejudicial, wrongful and unconstitutional action of the respondents and the inconvenience, damages and injury caused the applicant and other affected Nigerian citizens in flagrant violation of a valid and subsisting Order of Court

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents jointly and severally, whether by themselves, their agents, officers, officials, members, servants, ministries, organs, agencies or privies or anybody deriving authority from them by whatever name called from barring, restricting and of deactivating the applicant’s and other affected Nigerian citizens, phones Lines/Sim Cards or taking any step, action, further step or action or untoward action or proceedings against the applicant and other affected Nigerian citizens on any fact connected with or related to the facts of this case.”

The motion which is supported with 33 paragraphs affidavit, according to the lawyer, is pursuant to Sections 36 and 46 Of The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria; Order II Rule 1 of the fundamental rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction imbued by Section 6 (6)(B)of Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. 

He also listed the following grounds upon which the reliefs were sought: “that there has been grave constitutional infraction perpetrated by the Respondents against the Applicant end other law abiding Nigerian citizens. 

“That on the 22nd of February 2024, the court of law granted an order restraining the Respondents from barring, deactivating and or restricting any phone lines/Sim Cards of the Applicant and Nigerian citizens. 

“That the Respondents have take the law into their hands by barring, deactivating and restricting the Phone Lines/Sim Cards property of the Applicant and other Nigerian citizens upon directive by the 1st and 2nd Respondents despite a valid and subsisting order of court granted against the Respondents on the 28th of February 2024. 

“That the Applicant has.a constitutional right to fair nearing and right to own property guaranteed by the Constitution. 

“That the actions of the Respondents have overreached the order of court and thus prejudicial against the Applicant’s right to fair hearing, Hence it is not in accordance with due process of law. 

“That the act and action of the Respondents is clearly wrongful, illegal, unconstitutional and prejudicial against the Applicant’s right to fair hearing. 

“That the Respondents are creations and creatures of law and thus must act within the limit of the law, 

“The Respondents have no right to take the law into their own hands and thatThe constitutional safeguards to persons alleged to have committed any offence are sacrosanct and must be jealously guarded by the court. 

“That the Applicant has his fundamental rights protected and guaranteed under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

That the Applicant has the right under section 46 of the 1999 Constitution to approach the court for redress for the breach of his rights. And that the the applicant is entitled to the reliefs sought in this case.”

The lawyer in his affidavit stated that his fundamental right to fair hearing and the rights of millions of Nigerian Citizens guaranteed under sections 36 of the Constitution have been and is being violated by the Respondents. 

“That based on the above, he have filed this suit for himself and in public interest pursuant to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement procedure) Rules 2009. 

“That he is the telephone subscriber of the respondents with phone numbers/ines (09139128873) and (08027208563), 08055382155, 08090220200 respectively. And that sometimes in January 2024, the respondents threatened in barring,

deactivating and restricting the phone lines of Nigerian citizens whose phones lines are not linked with the National Identity Number (NIN). 

“That he immediately challenged the action of the respondents culminating to the valid and subsisting court order granted on the 22nd of February 2024 restraining the respondents from barring, deactivating and restricting my phone lines and the phone lines ef Nigerian citizens. 

“That surprisingly, while daring the court, the first and second respondents threatened to go ahead with the act and action of barring, deactivating and restricting of phones despite a valid and subsisting court order restraining the Respondents. And that to his utmost shock, on the 28th of February 2024, he woke up only to discover that his phones lines have been barred, deactivated and restricted by the second to sixth respondents, based on the mere directive of the first and second respondents despite a subsisting order of court 

“That act and action of the second to sixth respondents in barring, deactivating and restricting his phone lines and that of Nigerian Citizens upon a mere directive by the first respondent without any order of court and despite a valid and subsisting court order have caused me great loss of business opportunities, embarrassment, untold hardship, discomfort and inconvenience and hampered my business as a legal practitioner and businessman. 

“That he immediately contacted his solicitors, who wrote letters to the respondents demanding a prompt reversal of their illegal act and action having been carried out without recourse to due process of law. But the respondents have failed and refused to reply or respond to his solicitors letters till date. 

“That the act and action of the respondents of restricting, barring, deactivating the phone lines of million Nigerian citizens is a clear brazen act of undermining the court of law and its judicial powers and thus prejudicial against their rights to fair hearing. And that the act and action of barring, blocking deactivating and restricting my phone lines with phone lines by the Respondents despite a valid and subsisting court order is clearly wrongful and prejudicial against my rights and the rights of Nigerian citizens to fair hearing and right to own property 

“That the act and action of the respondents in barring and restricting my phone lines and that of other Nigerian citizens despite a valid and subsisting order of court have seriously prejudiced and breached his right to fair hearing and other affected Nigerian citizens as enshrined in sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

That the acts and actions of the Respondents have illegally and oppressively rode roughshod on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And that it is in the interest of justice to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this suit. 

“That it is in the interest of justice that all the reliefs sought in this application be granted.  

While the suit is yet to be assigned to any court, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.