By Innocent Anaba
A Nigerian Company, Silon Concepts Limited, has instituted a N500million suit against Airtel Nigeria, one of the major telecommunication companies in the country before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, over alleged breach of contract.
Silon Concepts instituted the suit when the company was bearing the name Celtel Nigeria Ltd, later Zain and now Airtel.
Counsel to the company, Chief Mike Ozekhome is also praying the court to restrain Airtel whether by itself, servants, privies, agents, staff or officers aids howsoever from disseminating negative information to its (Silon Concepts) subscribers or customers by means of voice call or in any manner whatsoever, which said negative information is capable of destroying and injuring the corporate image of the claimant.
Silon Concepts also want the court to restrain Airtel, whether by itself, servants, privies, agents, staff or officers howsoever, from barring or deactivating the lines of the claimant’s customers and subscribers.
The claimant in contending that by a Reseller Agreement it entered with Airtel May 20, 2009, Airtel appointed it (Silon Concepts) as a distributor to undertake the marketing and distribution of its products and services, including its post-paid platforms and the acquisition of post paid tariff plans for subscribers and customers connected to the defender’s network.
It added that that about two months after the execution of the said Resellers Agreement, on or about August 20, 2009, the defendant published a defamatory disclaimer to the claimant’s banker to wit; Zenith Bank Plc, denying having any business relationship with the claimant and consequent upon the publication, Zenith immediately caused its account to be flagged and proceeded to terminate the bank guarantee it issued.
The company added that had suffered severe injury to its corporate image, reputation, commercial interest and the good will it enjoys from its subscribers and members of the general public at large as a result of the defamatory disclaimer published by Airtel and same caused the claimant huge and monumental embarrassment.
It added that upon the publication of the said disclaimer by Airtel, to its banker, it reacted spontaneously and swiftly by confronting the defendant’s official, who tendered some semblance of apology and attributed the said defamatory disclaimer to its internal communication lapses, yet Airtel has bluntly and obstinately refused to tender a formal apology as requested.
The company added that Airtel commenced the transfer of the claimant’s customers from the claimant’s platform at a time the customers till had existing contract with the claimant, in violation of the agreement between claimant and defendant and that Airtel’s unilateral action had cost it huge earnings.
Meanwhile, Airtel in its counter claim, had argued that the claimant was still indebted to it for charges incurred on post paid subscriber lines utilized on its network, for which the claimant had by the agreement, assumed a primary credit risk and which it had refused to pay and same debt as at November 9, 2010 stand at N44.3million.
It added that by virtue of the huge debt and pursuant to its termination rights under the agreement, which the claimant failed to pay, it terminated the contract and had even instituted a suit in LD/1954/2010, which is still pending.
Airtel argued that the claimant was not entitled to any of its (Silon Concepts) claim in the statement of claim, adding that suit was frivolous and lacking in merit.