Interesting. Two Nigerians identified as Messrs. Timipa Jenkins Okponipere and Gele Samuel Mathew of First Law Solicitors, Abuja, on Monday filed an application at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the decision of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to reduce the fine imposed on MTN by 25 per cent.
The reportedly signed photocopy suit of summon is titled: “Notice of application for an order for enforcement of fundamental right pursuant to the provision of the constitution of Nigeria as amended and African charter …and enforcement Act 2004, made available to the media the petitioners in the suit said the reduction of the fine by 25 percent is a breach of: “Part X section 86-88 of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Act 2003, Section 142 (3) and (4) NCC Act 2003 Section 36 (1) 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria.”
Okponipere and Mathew, while attesting to an affidavit sworn at the court stated that the application was filed on behalf of all Nigerian citizens for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. They argued that the original fine of N1.4Tr imposed by NCC on MTN relating to its failure, refusal and/or negligence to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers is non-negotiable, adding that anything otherwise constitutes a breach of section 36 (1) of the constitution as amended and Article 21(1), of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, both guaranteed by the Nigerian people.
According to them, “No Nigerian institution or public office holder has the absolute power to howsoever reduce the fine, without legitimate recourse to the Nigerian people,” They also accused the NCC of conspiring with MTN against Nigerians, adding that the law guaranteed the fundamental rights of Nigerians to fair hearing and freedom to dispose of their wealth and natural resources in the exclusive interest of the people.
Describing as illegal attempts by MTN to negotiate and re-negotiate the original fine, Mr Okponipere said the NCC did not only misdirect itself into the decision to reduce the fine but also erred by ordering MTN to pay the N780 billion within a month by December 31, 2015.