Court Says It Has Power to Hear Suit Against NCC and MTN Over Poor Services

In Breaking News, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided over Honourable Justice S.E Chukwu today dismissed a preliminary objection filed by MTN Telecommunication Limited (2nd defendant) in Suit No. FHC/AbJ/382/CS/2010 to the effect that the Court has no jurisdiction in the case filed by Cross River Human Lawyer and Human Rights Activist OKOI OBONO-OBLA against Nigerian Communication Commission,NCC and MTN Communication Limited, MTN.

The Plaintiff (Okoi Obono-Obla) sued the NCC and MTN seeking for an order compelling the NCC to investigate the complaint lodged by the Plaintiff with the NCC against MTN over poor services experienced by the Plaintiff concerning MTN fast link internet service which the Plaintiff is a subscriber, which NCC has refused to do.

The Court held that it has jurisdiction by virtue of Section 251 of the Constitution and Section 138 of the Nigerian Communication Act, Cap.N97; 2004 which provides that the Federal High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters, suits and cases arising out of or PURSUANT to or consequent upon the NCC Act.

The plaintiff is seeking the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC.ABJ/CS/ 382/2010, to make:

1. A Declaration that the 1st Defendant as the Regulator of the Telecommunication Industry and Licenser of the 2nd Defendant has a Statutory Responsibility to ensure that the 2nd Defendant provides Good Services to it Subscribers in Nigerian including the Plaintiff that are consistent with National and International Best Practices and comply with the regulations laid down by the 2nd Defendant to ensure Service Providers provide good and quality service in the country as required by Section 104 of the Nigerian Communication Commission Act, supra.

2. A Declaration that the 1st Defendant has failed in its responsibilities as Regulator of the Telecommunication Industry or Sector in Nigeria to promote and protect the interest of Consumers in Nigeria including the Plaintiff against unfair practices including but not limited to Tariffs, Charges, and Availability of Quality of Communication Services, Equipment and Facilities and treating or investigating diligently, conscientiously and professionally complaints or objections lodged by Subscribers or Consumers of the 2nd Defendant including the Plaintiff’s Complaint dated February, 2010, against the 2nd Defendant which the 1st Defendant has failed, refused or neglected to investigate or resolve in accordance with its statutory responsibility of being the Regulator of the Communication Sector including the 2nd Defendant.

3. A Declaration that the 1st Defendant owes the Plaintiff and other Subscribers or Customers to the Telecommunication Sector a duty to ensure that the 2nd Defendant provides quality service to the Plaintiff and other subscribers commensurate with what the Plaintiff pays for the 2nd Defendant’s MTN Fast Link Service before billing the Plaintiff.

4. A Declaration that the failure or refusal or neglect of the 2nd Defendant to provide quality, reliable and good service in its MTN Fast Link Services which the Plaintiff is a Subscriber to, and proceeding to bill or charge or debit the account of the Plaintiff despite the Defendant’s poor, unreliable, fluctuating service since December, 2009, when the Plaintiff began his Subscription to the Defendant’s MTN Fast Link Service, is consequence of the failure or refusal of the 1st Defendant to carry out its Statutory Responsibility as the Regulator of the Communication Sector in Nigeria.

5. A Declaration that the failure or refusal or neglect of the 2nd Defendant to provide reliable, functional, quality service to the Plaintiff in respect of the Defendant’s MTN Fast link Service before debiting or charging or billing the Plaintiff amounts to cheating or short-changing or defrauding the Plaintiff.

6. An Order of Mandamus compelling the 1st Defendant to investigate the complaint of the Plaintiff dated 15th February, 2010 titled ‘’ Petition Against MTN Nigeria Communications Limited Concerning it MTN Fast Link Internet Card’ concerning the extreme poor, erratic and unreliable service provided by the 2nd Defendant in respect of its MTN Fast Link Internet Service 24 Hours Daily Bundle Plan lodged against the 2nd Defendant.

7. An Order directing the 1st Defendant to compel the 2nd Defendant to refund to the Plaintiff the monetary equivalent of voucher loaded into the Plaintiff MTN Fast Link Modem which the Plaintiff never got value for because of the poor quality, unreliable, erratic and inconsistent services of the 2nd Defendant MTN Fast Link Internet 24 hours daily bundle but which the 2nd Defendant debited or charge or bill the Plaintiff’s accounts.

8. General Damages of N2 Million only.

In his Statement of claim, the Plaintiff avers that the MTN Fast Link Service is never reliable and does not work most of the time.

The Plaintiff would load a N500 Voucher which is supposed to last for 24 hours but the service would work for some 30 minutes or one or two hours and then pack up.

The service is most of the time bad, unreliable, erratic and of the poorest quality which almost always frustrates the work of the Plaintiff who is a Legal Practitioner and also uses the Internet to research national and international trends in Legal Practice.

The Plaintiff alleged that he lodged a complaint against the erratic, poor quality, unreliable service of the MTN with the NCC on the 22nd February, 2010, and the NCC promised to commence investigation and get back to the Plaintiff but that NCC never investigated the complaint as required by its enabling Statute.

The Plaintiff avers that from December, 2009 – April, 2010, a period of about four months from when the Plaintiff began the subscription of the MTN Fast Link Internet Service that there was no time the Plaintiff really got value for his money as the service provided continue each day to be erratic and unreliable.

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