Why MTN was fined N780bn by NCC – Buhari

Why MTN was fined N780bn by NCC – Buhari
March 08 21:31 2016

By Yabagi Mohammed

[P]resident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave an insight why the telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, was fined N780 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Addressing at a joint press conference with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa at the State House in Abuja, the President said the company fined over its inability to fulfill its obligation of de-registering of unregistered lines which resulted in some security breaches.

The President said Nigeria was not concerned about the money, but the security implications of MTN’s failure to disconnect unregistered lines..

He said the delay by MTN to disconnect the unregistered lines caused the country the lives of its 10,000 citizens, stressing that the concern of government was the security of lives and property of the people.

The President said the unregistered lines were being used by terrorists to perfect plan before unleashing mayhem on their targets in the country.

“The concern of the federal government was basically on the security and not the fine imposed on MTN. You know how the unregistered GSM are being used by terrorists and between 2009 and today at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram. At least 10,000. That was why then NCC asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM subscribers. Unfortunately MTN was very, very slow and contributed to the casualties. And NCC looked at its regulations and imposed the fine.

“Unfortunately for MTN they went to court and once you go to court, you virtually disarm the government because if the federal government refuse to listen to the judiciary, its going against its own constitution, therefore the government has to wait. I think MTN has seen that and decided to withdraw the case and go back and negotiate with government agencies on what they consider a very steep fine to be reduced and maybe given time to pay gradually,” he said.

The President also disclosed that Nigeria and South Africa have identified the areas of economic mutuality and were ready to harness them for their benefits.

“I hope you will recall that even before the elections our party the APC realised the state we are in and we articulated three areas, security, economy and corruption and here we identified the role we can improve rapidly on our relationship with South Africa.

“In terms of the economy we identified agriculture and solid minerals to come to fore quickly so that we get everybody who is unemployed, employed. South Africa is far ahead of us in agriculture and solid minerals. So in diversifying the economy, I think that there is a great room for improvement which is for the better,” he said.

On his part, President Jacob Zuma said the countries are working on the return of the over $9 million dollars meant for the purchase of arms that was confiscated by the South African authorities.

“With regards to the things that were either confiscated or went to South Africa. The two governments are working on those matters. The relevant structures are working on it but there are some that the necessary departments are doing the investigations. We will appreciate if we succeed in recovering all other things in South Africa so that they will be returned,” he said.

Zuma also spoke on issue of xenophobia in South Africa, saying it was unfortunate because “all Africans are the same.”

“All Africans are the same, but colonialists through borders have made them think that they are different but we are the same Africans and that has been our view in addressing the issue of Xenophobia. We wish our people all over Africa to realise that we are the same and have the same interests,” he said.