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March 14, 2024

Court vacates order stopping MTN, ATC from constructing base stations

Court vacates order stopping MTN, ATC from constructing base stations

File image for illustration.

By Innocent Anaba

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has vacated its interim order which restrained MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited from constructing new Base Transceiver Stations across the country.

Trial judge, Justice Yellim Bogoro, set aside the order, which the court granted in favour of the Incorporated Trustees of HEDA Resource Centre on November 21, 2023.

HEDA commenced the suit listing the Federal Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited and others as defendants.

The plaintiff filed an ex parte application, arguing that ATC proposed to build 2,500 Base Transceiver Stations for MTN’s operations. But that the stations were within proximity to Base Transceiver Stations belonging to IHS Towers Nigeria Limited.

It obtained an interim order from the court barring MTN and ATC from proceeding with the construction of any Base Transceiver Stations across Nigeria.

Today in court …

However, when the matter resumed, MTN through its counsel, led by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), applied to set aside the interim order.

Ajogwu argued that the order ought not to have been granted as there was no real urgency or imminent wrong disclosed by HEDA.

MTN contended that HEDA Resource Centre, in obtaining the interim order, concealed key facts which would have aided the court in coming to a different decision on the issue.

Similarly, ATC through its lawyer, Nicholas Okafor, argued that the interim order obtained against ATC was baseless in law and was made in the absence of jurisdiction.

In its ruling, the court agreed with MTN that the interim order ought not to have been granted, given that there was no genuine urgency disclosed by the plaintiff, to warrant the making of the order in the first place.

It also agreed with MTN that HEDA concealed the important fact that none of MTN’s Base Transceiver Stations violated Nigeria Communication Commission’s regulations on spacing that should exist between towers.

Justice Bogoro adjourned till April 22.

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