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Court orders NCC, MTN, Glo, Others To Pay APC N500m Over Unlawful Closure Of Party's Fund Raising Service

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 24, (THEWILL)  –  The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and five major telecommunications companies have been ordered to pay the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria's main opposition political party, the sum of N500 million naira ($2.2m), following the illegal closure of the party's GSM short code message service deployed by the APC presidential campaign organization to raise donations from supporters.

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos gave the order Tuesday, which found Etisalat, MTN Nigeria Limited, Globacom Limited, Airtel Nigeria Limited and Visafone Communications Limited culpable alongside the NCC.

The APC had filed the lawsuit in January after the NCC directed the companies to shutdown the party's GSM short code service on the premise that the political party flouted the commission's laid down rules and regulations.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused the NCC of shutting down the service in order to give the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an edge over his party ahead of the keenly watched presidential election slated for March 28, 2015.