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Boko Haram MTN fuelled Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria - Buhari

MTN Nigeria was ordered by the Nigeria government to disconnect the unregistered network, citing security concerns but MTN failed to comply with it, resulting in a $5.2 billion fine against the company which was reduce to $3.9 billion.

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Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari play

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari

(AFP)

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MTN's failure to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards "fuelled Boko Haram  insurgency" in northern Nigeria, Nigerian president Mohamadu Buhari told journalists after a meeting with South African president Jacob Zuma in Abuja.

MTN Nigeria was ordered by the Nigeria government to disconnect the unregistered network, citing security concerns but MTN failed to comply with it, resulting in a $5.2 billion fine against the company which was reduce to 3.9 billion US dollars.

The company has paid $251 million toward settling the dispute.

“The concern of the federal government was basically in the area of security and not the fine imposed on MTN. You know how the unregistered SIMs are used by terrorists and between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram, at least 10,000." Buhari said

“That was why the NCC [Nigerian Communications Commission] asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register all subscribers. Unfortunately, MTN was very, very slow and contributed to the casualties. And NCC looked at its regulations and imposed the fine."

READ MORE:MTN pays $251M towards settling $3.9B fine

President Buhari said MTN's decision to go to court over the fine disarmed the government from intervening in the matter.

“(Un)fortunately for MTN, they went to court and once you go to court, you virtually disarm the government because if the federal government refuses to listen to the judiciary, it’s going against its own constitution. Therefore, the government has to wait. But I think MTN has seen that and decided to withdraw the case and go back and negotiate with government agencies on what they consider a very steep fine to be reduced and maybe give time to pay gradually.”

Nigeria accounts for about 38% of MTN's revenue.

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