Nigerian authorities will wait for the outcome of a court challenge filed by Africa’s largest mobile phone operator MTN before deciding on whether to enforce a R59 billion ($3.9 billion) fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), according to a report.
Reuters news agency reported that the Nigerian Communications ministry spokesman contradicted a source in the NCC, who earlier said “appropriate action” would be taken against MTN if it failed to pay the fine by a December 31 deadline for failing to disconnect users with unregistered SIM cards.
“The federal government, NCC (regulator) or any government agent will not do anything at the expiration of the December 31 deadline,” Victor Oluwadamilare, the ministry’s media assistant told Reuters. “Now that they (MTN) have gone to court we will await the outcome of the case,” he added. “This is a government that believes in the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, MTN, also insisted that its action was induced by commitment and belief in the long term sustainability of its business.
“The fine has potentially dire consequences for the company, its employees, partners, stakeholders as well as the entire Nigerian telecommunications industry,” MTN Nigeria’s human resources & corporate services xxecutive, Amina Oyagbola, told the Vanguard newspaper.
MTN was given a December 31 deadline to pay the fine for its failure to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers who did not register their SIM cards. But on Thursday announced it was planning to challenge in court a $3,9 billion fine imposed on it by the NCC.
The South African based mobile phone operator has hired seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to fight the R59 billion ($3.9 billion) fine imposed on it by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), according to Africa Review.