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MTN Agrees to Pay N1.4trn Fine, Over Sim Deactivation

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MTN has finally agreed to pay the N1.04 trillion fine placed on it last week by the Nigerian Telecommunications regulatory authority, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Following series of meeting held between the management of MTN, from South Africa and Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

It was gathered, that MTN may have agreed to pay the fine to sustain the interest of its telecoms business.

Sources told Vanguard a new arrangement was reached at the series of meeting held at the weekend in Nigeria.

The source said, “There have been series of meeting at the Presidency between the Vice President Osinbajo and MTN team both from South Africa and the Nigerian arm. MTN wanted a waiver considering their level of investments in the country, but government did not buy the idea of waiver. Instead, I think there will be concession, but certainly not a waiver. At the conclusion of the meeting, the MTN people negotiated on how to stagger the payment. The Presidency is even angry because MTN was a signatory to the regulation, but they are failing to comply with rules.”

It would be recalled that NCC had said that MTN would not escape the fine, owing to the enormity of its implication to national security.

Although NCC had hinted that the issue is being handled by the federal government, the telecoms authority also noted that MTN would risk withdrawal of its licence if its fails to comply with the fine.

Even with the widespread calls for the intervention of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), on the N1.04 trillion fine, Chief Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had last week called on the NSA not to intervene in the matter, adding that NCC regulation must take its course.

NCC said it had consistently engaged Mobile Network Operators, (MNOs) to strictly adhere to the regulations and its business rules in the registration of their subscribers.

Following several engagements, the Commission had confirmed various cases of violations of the regulations and sanctioned appropriately.