A Benin-based pastor in Edo State has dragged multi-national telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria Limited, before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin for releasing forged call logs to undermine the police investigation in a case of his missing bus driver and a missing Nissan Vanennete bus.
SaharaReporters had in September 2022 reported that the Nigeria Police Force, Zone 5 headquarters, Benin, and the Edo State command, had also for five months kept silent on the case involving MTN and suspected murder to favour some Nigerian Army personnel.
Reports had exposed how the police authorities in the Zone planned to sweep the case under the carpet going by its alliance with MTN and the army, except there was intervention from the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
SaharaReporters had reported that some MTN officials failed to honour police invitations to explain over 65 errors/discrepancies in the call logs that the company released to the police, probing the abduction of one Sylvester Ekpemokan, whose illegal detention by the army resulted in his death.
It had been reported that operatives of the Edo State Police Command, Zone 5, earlier arrested the MTN manager in Benin City over the forged call logs.
The pastor had previously complained about how some officers of the Nigerian Army had allegedly detained his driver, Ekpemokan, since August 2021 over a claim that he hit a military man’s car.
Ekpemokan had gone to work on August 10, 2021, precisely and did not return, after the military men abducted and kept him in their guardroom in Benin City, Edo State.
They had tortured him to death in their guardroom.
In the course of investigation, the police through a court order requested for the call logs of the missing driver and the army personnel who allegedly abducted the missing driver from MTN Nigeria limited. MTN in line with the court order supplied the police with the call logs.
The petitioner also got the certified true copies of the call through an order of court from the police force.
The petitioner pastor, Unity Osas discovered that the call logs were forged with over sixty five errors and discrepancies highlighted from the call logs.
The petitioner’s lawyer wrote to MTN twice to explain the highlighted error in the call logs but MTN refused to explain.
The petitioner’s lawyer also wrote to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) about the forged call logs and NCC responded that the matter was criminal in nature and it was outside their regulatory purview.
The petitioner also found out in the course of police investigation that MTN after releasing the forged call logs went ahead to recycle the missing driver’s number and sold the SIM to a new subscriber despite being aware that the SIM was under police investigation and the missing driver who was an MTN subscriber was yet to be found.
In a suit marked FHC/B/CS/3/23, the plaintiff is asking the court for the award of N5billion damages against MTN Nigeria and other defendants in the suit both jointly and severally.
The plaintiff is also asking the court to order the second defendant who is the Chief of Army Staff to release the plaintiff’s driver and bus.
The case will be coming up on the 13th of June 2023.