If MTN Nigeria had any high hopes of finding a soft-landing regarding the N1.4 trillion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, such hopes died with the insistence by the influential Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, that the telecoms company must pay the fine.
Top executives of the South Africa-based MTN Group have been in the country for over a week, holding discussions with high-level government officials on ways to either reduce the huge fine or agree to a staggered payment.
Weighing in on the controversy generated by the fine, the governors, who met at the Old Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja late Wednesday night, threw their weight behind the NCC.
The NGF also commended the NCC for its strict compliance and enforcement of the law regulating the telecommunication sector.
The NCC had fined MTN N200,000 for each unregistered SIM it failed to disconnect from its network. The number of unregistered SIM cards was put at 5.2 million.
Chairman of the forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, said the NGF received a comprehensive brief on the development from the NCC Acting Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta.
He said the governors’ forum assured Danbatta of collaboration with a view to strengthening the nation’s telecommunication industry.
“The forum also commended the NCC for its strict compliance and enforcement of the law with regards to the fine issued to MTN and advised the Federal Government to ensure prompt and full payment”, Yari stated.
The NGF chairman further said the forum resolved to meet with stakeholders to articulate a robust strategy aimed at addressing issues affecting the economy of the country.