The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has imposed a heavy fine of N1.04 trillion ($5.2 billion) on MTN Nigeria which is the leading telecommunications market in the country.
NCC slammed MTN with the fine because of its failure to deactivate subscribers whose Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards have not been registered or subscribers with SIM cards that have incomplete details within the stipulated deadline.
NCC has not made any official statement regarding the fine. However, as reported by The Guardian, there were other telecommunication companies that were guilt of the same offense. But according to the source, MTN remains the highest culprit.
The NCC directives on the deactivation of subscribers with unregistered SIM cards or SIM cards with incomplete registration was born out of the security advice it received from the State Security Service (SSS). The directive is a measure taken in order to curb criminal activities like kidnapping, insurgents, armed robbers and others. It was discovered that these criminals have been carrying out a lot of evils using the database of these telecommunications. SIM registration will help to trace criminals.
According to the source, NCC had no other option than to take this disciplinary measures. The source mentioned that MTN showed nonchalant attitude towards the NCC effort to curb criminal activities committed through the database of the telecommunication industries. MTN first sent low ranked officers to attend a serious meeting held at NCC office. The telecommunications companies were invited and the meeting was supposed to be attended by top ranked officers. As if that was not enough, MTN according to the Guardian refused to open their switches for inspection when NCC Enforcement and Monitoring team visited their office. Unwillingness of MTN to cooperate with the deactivation directives of NCC angered the commission. NCC according to the source has no option other than to fine the giant mobile operator.
MTN on its part has issued a statement with respect to the fine. It said that the company had entered into discussion with NCC in order to solve the problem.
Each unregistered SIM card as contained in the previous warning issued by NCC attracted a fine of N200,000.