Johannesburg – Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari will decide mobile network MTN’s fate regarding a $5.2bn fine, according to reports from that country.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined MTN $5.2bn for failing to disconnect five million unregistered SIM cards in a timely manner. Nigeria’s SIM card registration process is designed to curb terror and criminal threats in a country where the military is fighting an ongoing incursion by Boko Haram in the north.
In the wake of the fine, MTN’s share price slide by around a fifth and its group chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa quit. Phuthuma Nhleko was then appointed as executive chairperson and talks between MTN and the NCC regarding the fine are said to be ongoing.
The reports quoted Nigeria’s communications technology minister Adebayo Shittu, who was said to be speaking on the sidelines of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) meeting.
“Nigerians should expect that Mr. President will do the best to ensure that public interest is guaranteed,” the reports quoted Shittu as saying.
“The President will take the best decision. It is his responsibility and I am very sure that in his wisdom, he would do what is right. Whether Governors take a position or not, laws have been established about how to deal with an issue like this. It is just like a judgment,” said Shittu.
Shittu added that he didn’t want MTN to “die” but that it must adhere to the country’s laws.
Shittu was sworn in as minister earlier this month in President Buhari’s new cabinet.
The announcement of Buhari’s cabinet, though, came more than five months after he took office.
Meanwhile, MTN did not want to give comment on the latest reports regarding its fine in Nigeria. – Fin24