After much attempts by MTN to dodge the huge sum of N1.04 trillion fine slammed on it by the country’s telecoms regulatory authority, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms company has finally agreed to pay the fine.
The NCC had last week fined MTN a whopping sum of N10.04trn for violating its directive on SIM deactivation.
MTN amidst pleading for staggered payment model, however, at the weekend bowed eventually to pressure seeking it’s strict compliance with the NCC order.
The resolve came on the heels of series of meeting held between MTN management team from South Africa and Nigeria with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
It was gathered, the telecoms operator may have agreed to pay the fine to sustain the interest of its telecoms business.
MTN, among other telecoms operators in Nigeria has the largest subscriber base in the country.
It was learnt that the federal government is already yielding to MTN’s plea, which is said to be part of the agreement reached at the series of meeting held at the weekend in Nigeria.
MTN had reportedly requested for a waiver considering their level of investments in the country, but government did not buy the idea of waiver. Instead, concession may be considered.
It was learnt that at the conclusion of the meeting, the MTN representatives from South Africa negotiated on how to stagger the payment.
The Presidency is said to be angry because MTN was a signatory to the regulation, but they are failing to comply with the rules.
NCC had said that MTN would not escape the fine, owing to the enormity of its implication to national security.
While NCC noted in an earlier statement that the issue is being handled by the federal government, the regulatory agency also noted that MTN would risk withdrawal of its licence if its fails to comply with the fine.
MTN had made frantic efforts to secure the intervention of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), on the N1.04 trillion fine, but all to no avail.
In reaction to the telecoms operator’s intervention calls to the NSA, Chief Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had last week urged the NSA to turn deaf-ears in the matter, noting that the role of NCC must prevail as the industry’s regulatory body.
By Patrick Aigbokhan