AG, NCC and Communications Ministry should not undermine MTN-Fine Negotiations, ANEEJ insists.
March 1, 2016
Benin City, Edo State…In the wake of recent reports that a South African telecoms provider, MTN, has paid N50billion to the Federal Government of Nigeria as an initial step to resolve the impasse generated from its disobedience to a directive by Nigerian telecoms regulatory body, the NCC, the Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, first wants to say that even though all the behind-the-scene moves being made to resolve the impasse are to be seen in the light of conflict resolution, we have reason to believe that the squabbles among the agencies involved with the resolution of the dispute are likely to undermine the statutory control of the NCC to deal with infractions on our telecoms laws.
After South Africa secured the services of a former United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was seconded by the Federal Government of Nigeria to hold brief for Nigeria when it was clear that MTN was not inclined to pay up. Prior to these developments when it was obvious that MTN was playing cat-and-mouse with Nigeria by dealing with the Minister of Communications, ANEEJ called on Mr. President not to interfere with the process of resolving the dispute as it might lead to impunity and a weakening of the statutory powers of the NCC. Unfortunately however, all the agencies of government saddled with repr4esenting the Nigerian case seems to be at loggerheads and working at cross purposes.
‘We encourage that the AG should as a matter of fact take a legal advisory role while NCC and the Ministry of Communication take a lead in all matters relating to the settlement of MTN fine. We are anxious that if this process of resolving the conflict between MTN and Nigeria is not properly managed, it is capable of derailing the payment of the fine and scuttling the entire process of resolving the dispute’, ANEEJ executive director, David Ugolor has said.
There are at present conflicting messages from the NCC, the Ministry of Communications and the office of the AG. ‘These conflicting messages do not send the right signal and are capable of undermining the regulatory power of NCC. We call on these bodies to work together to resolve issues related with the MTN fine’, Ugolor added.
ABOUT ANEEJ: To contribute to the emergence of a just and equitable African society through socio-economic and environmental rights protection, institutional strengthening and people’s empowerment.
For more information please contact:
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ
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