BY FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI - DELTA State Government has given seven days ultimatum to the management of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to pay it accumulated ecology tariff amounting to N454.9 million or be ready to shut down their various masts scattered across the State.
State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Frank Omare who handed down the ultimatum while speaking to newsmen in his office yesterday said that “it is disheartening that MTN Nigeria Communications Limited was using its legal department to frustrate and deprive Delta State government of due revenue, whereas, the company had been paying Lagos, Akwa-Ibom and the rest”.
Our reporter gathered that following the lingering face-off between the two parties, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited had instituted a legal action at Effurun high court challenging the Delta State Government for the payment of such tariff and sought for an injunction to restrain the collection of such revenue.
However, the Effurun High court presided over by Justice Roli Daibo Harriman had while delivering judgment on 30th January 2011, ruled in favour of the Delta State Government, declaring that “the Ecology Law of Delta State 2006 was validly made by the Delta State Government and not unconstitutional. The Revised Ecology Tariff made pursuant to the Ecology Law of Delta State is valid and the order for injunction is refused”.
Justice Harriman went on to say that “my understanding is that the tariff was made pursuant to the law and it is separate administrative document from the law. He who asserts, must proof. The claimant (MTN) has therefore not discharged the burden on it to show that it was not the Governor who signed the said Tariff. This head of claim must therefore fail”, he stated.
Omare expressed disappointment that “a former high ranking official of the State Government was assisting MTN to sabotage the payment”, warning that “if by the end of this seven days ultimatum, MTN fails to pay they should be ready to shut down their mast. We have tolerated them enough.