ATC masts: Court refuses to dismiss HEDA case against MTN, others

A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, has ruled that HEDA Resources Centre has a right to institute the case against the ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited and MTN Nigeria over the construction of 2,500 base transceiver stations across Nigeria for MTN’s operations within proximity to the base trans-receiver stations that belong to IHS Towers Nigeria.

When the matter, with the suit No: FHC/L/CS/2359/2023, came up for hearing on 8 March, 2024, Justice Yelim Bogoro disagreed with MTN Nigeria’s position which queried HEDA Resources Centre’s locus in instituting the case and ruled that the matter, being a public interest action, gives the civil society organisation the locus standi to bring the suit.

The refusal to grant MTN’s application to dismiss the suit is a tacit agreement by the court that HEDA has a valid cause of action and that it has the legal basis to bring the action against the Federal Ministry of Environment, MTN, ATC and others.

HEDA Resource Centre, a CSO active in the promotion of sustainable development and protection of the environment, in the public interest case, is seeking, through the courts, to stop MTN Nigeria and ATC Nigeria from citing new base stations where there are already existing base stations nearby, based on health and environmental concerns.

The court adjourned the hearing of ATC’s preliminary objection challenging the competence of HEDA’s suit as well as the hearing of HEDA’s application for interlocutory injunction to 22 April, 2024.