HomeCourt room newsCourt Renews Ban On MTN, ATC Erecting New Towers Near Existing Ones

Court Renews Ban On MTN, ATC Erecting New Towers Near Existing Ones


Justice Yellim Bogoro of a Federal High Court in Lagos has reaffirmed an order restraining telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and its associate, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of the US-based American Tower, from overcrowding the environment with base stations pending the hearing of a suit filed by HEDA Resource Centre.

The judge initially issued the order on November 21, 2023 after granting an ex-parte motion filed and argued by HEDA Resource lawyer, Kunle Adegoke (SAN).The order was reaffirmed on 7th December 7, 2023 at the last proceedings in the matter.

In granting the ex-parte motion, the judge upheld the prayers of the plaintiff/applicant, the Incorporated Trustees of the HEDA Resource Centre and restrained the 4th and 5th defendants, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Ltd and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc respectively, together with their “servants, agents, privies and/or assigns from commencing, continuing or completing the construction or erection or installation of any base trans-receiver stations/towers/masts (BTS) within close proximity to IHS’ existing BTS or operating any BTS within close proximity to IHS’ existing.

The judge also restrained the “5th defendant, (MTN Nigeria Communications Plc) whether by its servants, agents, privies and/or assigns from moving, relocating, transferring any of its telecommunication equipment to any BTS site being or has been constructed, erected or built by the 4th defendant (ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Ltd), which is in close proximity to the IHS’ existing BTS pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.

The orders effectively put the implementation of the relocation of the 2,500 towers project from IHS to ATC announced by MTN recently on hold.

At the last hearing of the matter, MTN’s lawyer, Prof Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), moved a motion to set aside the ex parte order and filed a further affidavit and reply to HEDA’s counter-affidavit.

Also, a lawyer representing ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Ltd, Nicholas Okafor, sought to move his preliminary objection which he filed the previous day, but the court did not hear it as there was no proof that the said motion was served on the plaintiff/applicant or any other party in the suit.

On his part, HEDA’s lawyer, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), urged the court to direct all parties to the dispute to maintain the ‘status quo’ pending the rulings of the court on pending motions.

The judge later directed lawyers to all other parties to prevail on their clients on the need to maintain the ‘status quo’. Responding, Prof Ajogwu argued that he is law-abiding, but HEDA’s lawyer responded that the concern is not with counsels but their clients – MTN and ATC – which the NGO suspects are proceeding with work despite the injunctive order.

Further hearing in the matter has been fixed for February 14, 2024.

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