An Abuja Federal High Court yesterday dismissed the suit filed by the immediate past governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against mobile giant, MTN Nigeria.
Oyinlola, who is now the National Secretary of PDP has accused the MTN of not releasing the full Call Data Records (CDRs) of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
It will be recalled that Oyinlola was on 2010 sacked by a Court of Appeal as governor of Osun state over was the court described as election malpratices and the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola was immediately declared the winner of the 2007 governorship election in the state.
Not satisfied about the court ruling, Oyinlola and the PDP approached the court over the court’s judgement, alleging that the embatlled President of Court of Appeal, Salami compromised with some leaders of ACN to give the judgment in favour of Aregbesola who is an ACN member.
Since then, the duo has been demanding for the call log of Salami from the MTN.
But MTN, in its statement of defence, claimed it does not have the capacity to store and release CDRs beyond three months.
Justice Bilikisu Aliyu struck out the suit following the notice for discontinuance filed by the Plaintiffs without tendering any reason.
Although MTN asked the court to dismiss the suit since parties have joined issues, Justice Aliyu only struck out the suit.
Citing Order 50 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court, Justice Aliyu said the court was prohibited from dismissing the case.
Justice Peter Affen of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court had dismissed a suit filed by Oni against Justice Salami for not disclosing reasonable cause of action.
In a witness statement on oath filed in court by MTN’s Senior Manager, Commercial Legal, Mr. Rotimi Odusola, he averred: “I know as a fact due to capacity and storage constraint, the 1st defendant (MTN) can only release CDRs for periods not exceeding three months from the date of receipt of a legitimate request for the release for the CDRs.
“I know as a fact the 1st defendant’s standard requirement with respect to its post-paid subscription are consequent on its policy upon which it has absolute prerogative.
“I know that the 1st defendant released Adeolu Oyinlola’s CDR to him in compliance with its obligations to its subscribers.”
Replying paragraphs 22 to 23 of the statement of claims, the MTN states that it always cooperates with security agencies and accedes to their legitimate requests while adhering to its rigid procedures to ensure its customers confidentiality regime is not compromised or prejudiced and also within the confines of its capacity and storage constraints. It was consequent to this that the 1st defendant upon request for call data records from Nigerian Police Force Area G command Headquarters Ogba, forwarded the CDRs to the command.”
Reacting to MTN’s statement of defence, the former governor and his prime witness, Adeolu Oyinlola exhibited several call logs released by telecommunication outfit which spanned over six months.
The Plaintiffs claimed that they have three incontrovertible documentary evidence showing that MTN was dishonest and mischievous with intent of misleading the court.
They claimed that while the call data released to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) by MTN covered only three months, the data released to the Area G Command covered the required five months. In the suit,the plaintiffs are contending that the call data of those months which were deliberately left out in what was given to the NSA would have made all the difference in reaching a different conclusion by the NJC’s panel.
According to the plaintiffs, “The 1st Defendant’s storage capacity is not limited to three months. The call data records the 1st defendant released to Area G Command, Ogba, covered the period between 1st September, 2010 and 31st January, 2011 (five calendar months). We shall also be calling the Area Commander, Area F Command, Ikeja, Lagos to tender the call data records of a certain Sunday Awobiye which spanned a period of six calendar months. The said call logs were released also by the 1st Defendant.
“These buttress the Plaintiffs’ assertion of the 1st Defendant’s inconsistent, fraudulent and manipulative tendencies: The 1st call data record released to Adeolu Oyinlola by the 1st Defendant on the 4th of August, 2011 (already pleaded) covered only a period of one month, while the 2nd call data record released by the same 1st Defendant to the self-same Adeolu Oyinlola on March 21, 2012 covered three months. Very significantly, unlike the call data records the 1st Defendant released to the security agencies at the (behest of the National Judicial Council, both of the call data records released to Adeolu Oyinlola, as well as the call data records released to Areas F and G Commands had originating and terminating components. The 2nd call data record aforementioned is hereby pleaded”.