By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—-An Abuja Chief Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse Zone 2, has summoned MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd to appear before it on December 6, for allegedly defaulting to pay rent for a piece of land where its transmission mast was erected.
Magistrate Olubunmi Achegbulu directed the service of processes on the telecommunication giant, after a firm that was managing the Mast on its behalf, failed to appear in court.
The court order followed a suit that was filed by one Edward Shehu Baba, the owner of Plot 1038 Cassava Street, Wuye District, Abuja, which was allegedly leased to MTN Communications Ltd in 2007.
Baba told the court that MTN secured the land through Future Telecoms Nigeria Ltd for its transmission mast at an annual rent of N1million.
He said the agreement was to elapse after 10 years.
The litigant who filed the suit through his lawyer, Mr. Maiyaki Theodore Bala, decried that though the tenancy agreement lapsed on February 28, 2017, the MTN mast marked ABJ 876A TI263, is still hoisted in his premises, without the firm either vacating or agreeing to new lease agreement.
Buba told the court that he suffered “tremendous damages” in the 10 years of the lease, as tenants shunned a four-bedroom flat he built in the compound the mast was erected.
He said the flat which was valued for rentage at N2.5million and N3million per annum, remained unrented due to scare of purported “health hazards associated with radiation emissions from the masts.”
In his Application for Plaint, Buba, averred that he had repeatedly asked MTN to vacate his premises or pay the sum of N30m for 10 years at N3m per annum.
He said though the firm rejected the proposed fresh agreement, it however refused to vacate the premises.
Consequently, he is praying the 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 as cost of filing the suit.