Lawyers representing the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) on Tuesday accused the chief executive of MTN Nigeria Karl Toriola of evading service in a copyright infringement case.

The defendants in the suit are MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Mr Toriola, Nkeakam Abhulimen, Fun Mobile Limited, and Yahaya Maibe.

According to the NCC, MTN and others used several soundtracks as callback ringtones without the consent and authorisation of the original owners and in contravention of the Copyright Act.

Representing the NCC, lawyer Gladys Ojo told Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Toriola allegedly refused to be served.

The judge had fixed Tuesday for the arraignment of the defendants but only the fifth defendant showed up.

“My lord, the matter today is slated for arraignment and plea. The last time, we told my lord that we are having issues serving the MTN CEO. We sent our officers to the MTN office in Lagos to serve them but we were denied access. We also sent the charge via DHL,” Ojo said.

But counsel for MTN, Toriola, and another Obafemi Agaba said: “The rules of the court is that they be served personally. The NCC has not applied for substituted service.”

He also drew the court’s attention to his application challenging jurisdiction and competence of the suit.

The judge also said the NCC’s lawyer ought to know the necessary legal steps to take regarding service.

The case was adjourned to June 27, 2024, for plea.

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