UK-based Nigerian lawyer, Mr. Bennett Igbani, whose MTN line was hacked into by an unidentified person, has slammed a N200 million suit on MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.
In an amended statement of claim filed on Mr. Igbani’s behalf before a Federal High Court in Lagos by Lagos lawyer Festus Keyamo, the UK-based lawyer claimed that he had been using his SIM card with the number 08067251116 for over eight years. He also claimed that during the compulsory card registration exercise mandated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), he personally registered his SIM card with MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and had been using the same exclusively without any interference from anybody until October 4, 2014.
Mr. Igbani, a PhD law student in the United Kingdom, said he roamed his line when he traveled to where he is studying. But three days after his arriving the UK, he added, the line became inoperative. A few days later, he said he observed that his e-mail address was being accessed from Nigeria, as his e-mail account had been hacked into by a third party using his MTN Number.
Mr. Igbani alleged further that his account officer at Sterling Bank Plc called to inform him that one Mrs. Nora, claiming to be his younger sister, called her with his MTN number and requested that the sum of N5 million from his bank account be released to them for because Mr. Igbani required urgent medical attention overseas, as he was gravely ill and on admission in a hospital.
The lawyer, however, stated that he was neither ill nor has a sister named Nora. He added that he was scared, as his MTN line is linked to all his six bank accounts, as well as his e-mail account and social media accounts.
Mr. Igbani averred further that after the attempted fraud on his account, he petitioned the Nigerian Police, stating that his number was reclaimed by a third party through MTN and the third party had access to his PhD thesis and deleted vital documents, thereby causing him serious setback in his academic pursuit.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he went to the MTN office in Lagos and laid a complaint. He said it was confirmed that his MTN line was reclaimed by one Mr. Ndubisi Daniel on October 7, 2014. Subsequently, he requested for the particulars of the person that reclaimed his number but the communications company refused to disclose same.
The refusal compelled him to instruct his lawyer, Mr. Keyamo, to write to MTN, stating that the action of the company was fraudulent.
Mr. Igbani similarly averred that he suffered enormous damages, ranging from being kept incommunicado for over five months to loss of business, psychological stress, financial loss, extraction of vital information and infringement on his privacy.
For these, Mr. Igbani is seeking the sum of N200 million as damages.
He is also seeking an order of the court mandating the MTN to return his number to him and restrain the company from further tampering with his with his number.
The case has been adjourned until September 23 for hearing.