The Federal Government has said that MTN Nigeria must pay a “substantial amount” of N1.04 trillion imposed on the mobile phone company for non-registration of 5.2 million subscribers before its out-of-court settlement request can be accepted.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said unless MTN pays the undisclosed “substantial amount”, both parties cannot negotiate the settlement deal requested by the mobile phone company, Technology Times reports.
Shittu spoke at the A4AI Stakeholders Forum held in Lagos yesterday night. He said that government’s stance was informed by MTN’s alleged past volte-face on the matter.
“They have to pay a substantial amount”, Shittu says in reference to last month’s request by MTN’s decision for an out-of-court settlement in the lawsuit the mobile phone company filed against the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that imposed the fine.
Last month, MTN surprised watchers of the unfolding developments surrounding the fine when it asked the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to settle out of court with the Nigerian government, in a lawsuit it filed challenging the authority of the telecoms regulator to impose the punishment.
“MTN was in violation of laid-down rules, but the previous government didn’t do anything about it”, Shittu says in tracing the background of alleged infractions by the mobile phone company.
After the sanction imposed on MTN by the current administration, over allegations that it did not register over five million subscribers, which was not only a breach of SIM Registration rules, but also posed serious security risks to Nigeria, the Board of the mobile phone company was later to tender a written apology, Shittu told journalists at the media parley.