A former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Sunday urged the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), to prosecute MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for allegedly failing to furnish the National Judicial Council (NJC) a complete call log of the retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami.
The former governor made the demand in a six-page petition filed through his counsel, Mr. Adebisi Raimi, noting the AGF’s refusal to take legal action against MTN Nigeria and its directors simply “represents not just a breach of the constitutional right of the petitioner but that of Nigerians as a whole.”
Oyinlola, therefore, explained that the refusal of the AGF “to take appropriate legal action against MTN Nigeria and its directors simply represents a breach of the constitutional right of Nigerians as a whole” even after the Nigeria Police had conducted fresh investigation and recommended that MTN be prosecuted.
He urged the AGF “to exercise his power of public prosecution entrenched in Section 174 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution by initiating legal action against MTN Nigeria Limited and its directors so that public interest and the interest of justice enshrined under section 174 (3) could be duly served.
Oyinlola, a chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had expressed his dissatisfaction with the judgment of the Governorship Election Appeal Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, which overturned his election and endorsed Mr. Rauf Aregbesola as the duly elected governor of the state.
He consequently petitioned the NJC, alleging misconduct against Justice Salami and other judicial officers breached his fundamental rights to fair hearing.
The former governor alleged that there were contacts between Salami and the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, an allegation that made the NJC to demand the call logs of the phone contacts stated as follows: 0803401111 belonging to Mr. Lai Mohammed; 08062240104, 08034240000 to Sen. Bola Tinubu and 08034004887 to Salami.
But the former governor alleged that MTN Nigeria and its directors did not submit complete call logs, which he said, the council directed them to furnish between September 2010 and January 2011.
According to him, the NJC set up a Special Investigative Panel in 2011 to determine the culpability or otherwise of certain judicial officers with respect to allegations of corruption that rocked the judiciary.
“During the course of investigations carried out by the Nigeria Police requested that MTN Nigeria furnished it with information on telephone subscriber numbers 08034004887 and 08034010700, belonging to Justice Isa Ayo Salami and Chief Tunji Ijaiye respectively – the principal characters fingered in the communication between Salami and chieftain of the defunct ACN.
“MTN Nigeria furnished the Area “G” Police Command Office the call data records of the two numbers aforementioned between September 2010 and January 2011. The call data records referred to in (f) were submitted to the council; urging it to investigate and take necessary disciplinary action.
“In order to assist the council, requests were made to all the mobile telephony and ancillary service providers in the country to furnish the Special Investigative Panel with call data records of certain subscribers. The providers include Glo, Airtel and Etisalat cooperated fully with the council Panel and availed the latter of call data records; spanning, in some cases, six calendar months.
“MTN Nigeria on its own part deliberately frustrated the work of the panel by providing inadequate and incomplete call data records to the law enforcement and security agencies, which, the latter, in turn, transmitted to the Special Investigative Panel of the NJC and thus manipulated same.”
He added that the NJC, which investigated alleged corruption against the judicial officers, declared that the call logs earlier released by MTN Nigeria lacked authenticity and as such, of no evidential value.
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