Zamfara Circle, a civil society organization, has dragged mobile telecommunications service providers, comprising MTN, GLO, Airtel and 9mobile, to court, demanding N100 million as damages for the deliberate shutdown of their services in the state.
The suit has Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, and the National Communications Commission (NCC) as co-defendants in the suit.
In the motion filed in a court in the state capital, the plaintiffs said the shutdown of the network has brought suffering and losses to the subscribers.
The motion was brought in pursuant to Order 15 Rule 3 (1) of the High Court of Zamfara State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2014, sections 96, 97, 98 and 99 of the Sherriff and civil process Act, Cap 551, LFL 2004 as well as the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
Musa Umar and Ahmed Jamilu, on behalf of Zamfara Circle, said the telecoms service providers decided to shut down network in the state on the 3rd September 2021 ”without obtaining a court order to that effect which is tantamount to breaching the terms of contract entered into between the plaintiffs and defendants”.
The group is praying for the court to determine among others, whether there exists between the plaintiffs and the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants, a binding contract for the provision of telecommunication services including internet and email.
Similarly, it seek the court to determine whether the directive of the 1st and 3rd Defendants to the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants to unilaterally shut down the telecommunication services in Zamfara State on the 3rd September 2021 thereby denying the Plaintiffs access to the use of telecommunication services in the State is not a breach of the contract between the Plaintiffs and the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants.
Zamfara Circle is also seeking the court to determine “whether the Plaintiffs are not entitled to damages against the Defendants arising from the direct losses they suffered within the period that the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants shut down telecommunication services including internet and email in Zamfara State.”
Other prayers presented for determination to the court by the group include ”whether the relationship between the Plaintiffs and the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants is contractual and binding and that the directive of the 1st and 3rd Defendants to the 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants to unilaterally shut down telecommunication services in Zamfara State on the 3rd September, 2021 is not a breach of the contractual relationship between the Plaintiffs and the 4th, 5th, and 6th Defendants.”
They also sought an order from the court to direct the defendants to immediately restore telecommunication services in Zamfara State.
Zamfara Gov, telecom networks dragged to court over network shutdown