A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till March 18, the suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to challenge the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
The court’s adjournment was sequel to a request by the telecommunication outfit for more time to pursue an out of court settlement.
MTN had in December 2015 filed the suit through its lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), arguing that the NCC being a regulator, cannot assume all the functions of the state on its own, considering the fact that they made the regulation, prescribed the penalty and imposed the fine, which is payable to the commission and not the Federal Government.
The telecommunication company also claimed that it was not afforded its constitutional right of fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction and more importantly, it had not been found guilty of any offence that will warrant it to pay such an outrageous fine.
The NCC in response urged the court in a motion on notice filed through its lawyers, Ahmed Raji (SAN) and Mahmud Magaji (SAN), to dismiss or decline to hear the suit for want of jurisdiction, or send it to Abuja.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, Chief Olanipekun informed the court that parties are already discussing on how to resolve the matter amicably.
The lawyer then asked for a 60-day period from the court to allow for the discussions.
But counsel to the NCC, Yusuf Alli (SAN) urged the court to go ahead with the hearing of the matter as he was not aware of any ongoing discussion for settlement among parties.
On his part, lawyer to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), also expressed reservations on the application for adjournment.
The silk urged the court to make a consequential order that all the processes filed is deemed as properly filed and served.
Justice Idris, in a short ruling, held that all the preliminary objections and substantive applications shall be taken together while all the processes filed shall be deemed as properly filed and served.
The court then adjourned the matter till March 18, for a report of settlement or for hearing.