July 24, 2024
Agric Tech Nigeria Conference

The Incorporated Trustees of HEDA Resource Centre indicate that they have appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which on Friday, June 21, 2024, struck out its application seeking to stop the Federal Ministry of Environment, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited and MTN Communications Plc from going ahead with the planned construction of new base stations in close proximity to the existing sites operated by other infrastructure operators.

The Executive Director, HEDA Resource Centre, Olanrewaju Suraju, while reacting to the verdict, in a statement on Thursday, said the decision of the Federal High Court was very odd and inconsistent with its earlier position that the Plaintiff had a cause of action in the preliminary objection brought by MTN on the same facts before the honourable court.

He added that coming to conflicting conclusions on  two similar applications  exposes the decision of the trial judge, Hon. Justice Yelim Bogoro to a necessary challenge at the Court of Appeal which has been filed by HEDA Resources Centre.

“We see this decision of the Federal High Court as very odd and inconsistent with the law. Reason is the fact that the same trial judge had admitted that there was a cause of action on the earlier application on the same set of facts brought by the fifth respondent, MTN.

The court also in another application by the fourth respondent, ATC, which came much later also affirmed the fact that HEDA Resource Centre, the Plaintiff had a cause of action. It is strange to us that His Lordship suddenly shifted his earlier position by saying there was no cause of action when nothing material has changed’’, he stated.

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Suraju, while noting that given the noticeable inconsistency in the court ruling and possible grounds for appeal, said the judgment was also suggestive that a cause of action would arise if permits were issued to the defendants (ATC and MTN) or they take steps toward building new base station sites.

HEDA Resource Centre also said that the court ruling was indicative of the Federal Ministry of Environment’s position that its action should not be the basis of the suit, maintaining that the role of the ministry as a critical agency responsible for ensuring a safe, liveable environment could not be downplayed.

Suraju said it is interesting to read narratives in the media that we are acting as a proxy for IHS.  We are an independent body and anyone can check our history of advocacy, including our history with MTN Nigeria dating back many years.

Justice Bogoro, it would be recalled, had in March 2024, dismissed two applications filed by ATC and MTN challenging the competence of the suit filed by HEDA Resource Centre and affirmed the latter’s locus to file the case against the two companies.

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