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Court restrains telecoms firms from stopping Buhari's SMS campaign

The companies were restrained from giving effect to a directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which warned them against running political promotions that will portray them as being partisan.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, restrained five telecoms firms from suspending All Progressives Congress (APC), campaign fund-raising platform.

The ex-parte order was made by trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, following an application by the party.

The telecoms firms effected by the order include MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Airtel and Visafone.

The companies were restrained from giving effect to a directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which warned them against running political promotions that will portray them as being partisan.

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Justice Buba ordered the telecoms firms "to continue to run, operate and/or restore to its full operative use of the SMS code platform, 35350 which was created for fund-raising for the applicant's presidential campaign."

The party was also granted leave by the court to serve the originating motion on notice and other processes on NCC outside the court's jurisdiction.

APC had argued that the platform was to operate till February 12, when campaign activities for the presidential election were to stop in line with Electoral Act and the election time-table.

The party is also demanding N25 billion damages from the defendants for violating the fundamental rights of the party and its members.

It is contending that since the platform was suspended, it has been unable to disseminate or receive information from its supporters via the SMS code 35350.

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