Buhari gave the order at a joint news conference with South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma who was in Nigeria on an official visit.
Buhari added that the reluctance of MTN to register all subscribers’ lines within the deadline, was the reason for the sanction imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The West African head said the concern of the government was not necessarily the fine, but security of lives and protection of people’s property.
“You know how the unregistered GSM lines were used by terrorists and between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram,” Buhari said.
South African President Jacob Zuma was in Nigeria for a two-day stay visit which is seen as an attempt to improve soured relations between the two economic giants.
Government officials said over 30 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding, ranging from trade, industry and transport, among others, were signed between both countries.
MTN proposes $1.5bn to settle penalty
MTN has proposed to pay 300 billion naira ($1.5 billion) to settle a record $3.9 billion fine in Nigeria for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers that the government claims included Boko Haram Islamic insurgents.
Africa’s biggest wireless operator made the written offer, made up of cash installments, bond purchases and network access, to the Nigerian government on February 24, according to a letter to the government from the company’s lawyer, former US Attorney General Eric Holder. The Senate Committee on Communications met to discuss the matter on Thursday and concluded that the negotiations with MTN must continue for two more weeks.
The Johannesburg-based company “cannot confirm or deny” the $1.5 billion figure, spokesman Chris Maroleng said by phone. “When we reach a resolution with the authorities we will inform shareholders of that fact through the Johannesburg Stock Exchange news service,” he said.
“$1.5 billion is in the right ballpark to settle the fine,” Dobek Pater, managing director of research firm Africa Analysis, said by phone. “It is on the low side of what would be reasonable. I expect a settlement of about $2 billion.”
MTN said it put aside about $600 million toward the payment at the company’s full-year earnings on March 3. Nigeria is the company’s biggest market with more than 61 million customers, about a third of the population.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro