…Sets aside earlier order stopping ATC, MTN from constructing base stations in Nigeria

Justice Bogoro of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, has vacated its Interim Order made on November 21, 2023, barring MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited from constructing new Base Transceiver Stations across Nigeria.

The order was made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/2359/2023 – between HEDA Resource Center, Federal Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management, MTN, ATC and others, a suit which was commenced by the Incorporated Trustees of HEDA Resource Center against the Federal Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited and others.

HEDA Resource Center stated that ATC proposed to build 2,500 Base Transceiver Stations for MTN’s operations which it claimed were within close proximity to Base Transceiver Stations belonging to IHS Towers Nigeria Limited. Without notice to the other parties to the matter, HEDA Resource Center obtained an interim order from the Federal High Court, Lagos, on account that it was imperative for the Court to stop MTN and ATC from constructing any Base Transceiver Stations across Nigeria.

MTN had through its lawyers, Kenna Partners, led by Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, applied to set aside the interim order, arguing that the order ought not to have been granted as there was no real urgency or imminent wrong disclosed by HEDA Resource Center.

MTN contended that HEDA Resource Center, 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.

The Court in its Ruling, agreed with MTN that the interim order made in favour of HEDA Resource Center ought not to have been granted, given that there was no genuine urgency disclosed by HEDA Resource Center, such as to warrant the making of the order in the first place. The Court also agreed with MTN that HEDA Resource Center concealed the important fact that none of MTN’s Base Transceiver Stations were in violation of Nigeria Communication Commission’s Regulations on spacing that should exist between towers. The Court adjourned the matter to April 22, 2024.

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