In a new twist to the public interest suit instituted by the Incorporated Trustes of HEDA Resource Centre (HEDA) against the Federal Ministry of Environment, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Ltd (ATC Nigeria) and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria), the non-governmental organisation has commenced contempt proceedings against the Managing Director of ATC Nigeria, Errol Ambler-Smith.
In a Form 48 sited by our correspondent in the registry of the Federal High Court on Monday 5th February, 2024, HEDA issued a notice of consequences of disobedience of court orders against ATC Nigeria. Named in the said Form 48 is the Managing Director of ATC Nigeria against whom the warning seems to be directed.
In Suit No FHC/L/CS/2359/2023 between HEDA v. Federal Ministry of Environment and 4 others, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on 21st November 2023 issued an ex parte order of injunction against ATC Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and other defendants to restrain themselves from taking any step towards establishing new masts in close proximity to existing ones.
The order effectively put on hold the implementation of the relocation of 2,500 towers project from IHS to ATC announced by MTN on or around 10th November 2023. The order of injunction was reaffirmed by the court on 7th December 2023.
While the document sighted did not indicate the basis of the contempt proceedings, it is certain that steps are being taken towards convicting the Managing Director of ATC Nigeria named in the said document. Efforts to reach the Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju and the Managing Director of ATC Nigeria, Errol Ambler-Smith at the time of publication did not yield positive fruits.
The matter is coming up on the 14th of February, 2024.