Court adjourns ruling on criminal contempt against MTN


A Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Monday adjourned ruling on a charge of criminal contempt against Mr Isiaka Olagunju, an MTN counsel, until June 21. The presiding judge, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, gave the ruling in a case challenging unnecessary deductions of call credits against the communication outfit.

Mr Oluwole Aluko, the plaintiff, had instituted a legal action against MTN in 2016 where he alleged that the company was unnecessarily deducting call credits from his three MTN lines due to unsolicited caller tones. Ayo-Emmanuel held that it was important to allow Olagunju to file his counter affidavit before the court would rule on the criminal content charge instituted against him in the interest of fair hearing.

In his argument, Aluko said that the defence counsel had lied to the court that he did not receive the court’s summon, which instituted a legal action against MTN, his client.
The plaintiff said that the court’s bailiff was ordered to serve the court’s summon on the counsel, which he carried out to the letter.

Aluko said that Olagunju’s action did not only amount to criminal contempt, but also contempt of the court. However, the defence counsel, Isiaka Olagunju, told the court that he was living in Abuja and was never notified of any legal action in respect of his client until the court had delivered its judgment.

Olagunju citing relevant portions of the Federal High Court’s rules said that the plaintiff failed to serve the criminal content charge on him personally, according to the law.
He added that what Aluko did was totally unknown to law as he violated the laid down rules of the court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ayo-Emmanuel had delivered a judgment where he ordered MTN to pay N530,000 to Aluko as against N10 million he had requested. The amount was to compensate Aluko for unauthorised deductions from his MTN lines. However, MTN had through its counsel, Olagunju, asked the court to set aside the judgment, claiming to be unaware of any litigation against it.