A Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja has directed the service of processes on MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd to appear on December 6 over alleged occupation of a space for its transmission mast without payment of rent.
Magistrate Olubunmi Achegbulu also directed service of the papers on MTN after the initial service on the firm managing the Mast on behalf of the telecommunication giants failed to appear in court.
The suit was brought by Edward Shehu Baba, the owner of Plot 1038 Cassava Street, Wuye District, Abuja, which was leased to MTN Communications Ltd through Future Telecoms Nigeria Ltd in 2007 for its transmission mast at an annual rent of N1m for N10m in 10 years.
In the suit filed by his counsel, Maiyaki Theodore Bala, the plaintiff stated that the tenancy lapsed on February 28, 2017 and the MTN mast marked ABJ 876A TI263 is still hoisted in the compound without vacating or agreeing to new lease agreement.
Buba also stated that he suffered ‘tremendous damages’ in the 10 years of the lease as the four-bedroom flats in the 15m by 15m, which was being rented at between N2.5m and N3m in Wuye District per annum, remained unrented due to scare of purported “health hazards associated with radiation emissions from the masts.”
In the ‘Application for Plaint’, Buba averred that he had demanded the MTN vacate his premises or pay the sum of N30m for 10 years at N3m per annum as the basis of a fresh agreement, which was rejected by INT Ltd.
Consequently, he is demanding the court to order the company to pay it the sum of N1.5m pro rated rent for the property from the period of March 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018, and the sum of N500, 000 cost of filing the suit.
But in a preliminary objection through its counsel, A.U. Gaji, MTN informed the court that it is no longer the owner of the mast but INT Towers Ltd, adding that its transfer of interest in the lease agreement to Futures Communications and INT Ltd was to the consent of Buba.