21th June, 2016.
CANCEL THE MTN FINE REDUCTION AND OPEN TRANSPARENT NEGOTIATIONS, ANEEJ TASKS FG
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has called for the cancellation of the reduction of the fine of N1.04trillion which the Nigeria Communications Commission NCC, imposed on MTN for contravening an NCC regulation to mobile telephone operators to register their subscribers, to N780billion before being unilaterally cut down to N330 billion by the Minister of Communications, allegedly under the instruction of Mr. President.
The call from ANEEJ was contained in a press statement made available to journalists just after the declaration by the Minister of Communications that the Nigerian government decided to reduce the fine the NCC imposed on MTN because there were local and international pressures from interested parties. The minister was reported to have said that if the fine was not reduced, it could deepen Nigeria’s economic recession.
‘ANEEJ is not satisfied with this explanation by the Honourable Minister of Communications, and joins in the calls being made by Nigerians and the National Assembly for an out-right cancellation of the reduction of the fine because it is a product of a secret negotiation between the Communications Minister, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Governor of the Central Bank ’, ANEEJ executive director, the Rev. David Ugolor said.
Previous statements from ANEEJ on the subject called for an independent body made up of CSOs, the Executive, the members of parliament and the Judiciary, to broker the negotiations to check the flip-flops by the Honourable Minister of Communications, and which were a product of his comment that only Mr. President has powers to broker the repudiation of the fine imposed on MTN by the NCC. But matters began to take another turn with the visit of Jacob Zuma, South African President to Nigeria, on March 5, 2016. That visit gave fillip to insinuations that there were going to be secretive dealings with negotiations involving the settlement of the fine by MTN.
‘The statute books are clear concerning issues related to breaches and infractions of Nigerian laws by local and foreign investors. Therefore if government continues to meddle in the affairs of every regulatory body like it is doing with the NCC, it would only lead to the perpetration of the culture of impunity, and greatly weaken the powers of the institutions put in place by law to exercise decorum in the conduct of public businesses. As a matter of fact, it may be politically expedient for the MTN fine to be reduced. However, it is the mistiness and secrecy involved in the negotiations that pave way for impunity to reign supreme’, ANEEJ executive director said in the statement.
The ANEEJ statement also threw light on the seizure of a huge cache of Nigerian monies confiscated from the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan, which the South African government has yet to return because it insists on doing things according to provision in the South African laws.
‘MTN misdemeanour resulted in the deaths of thousands of Nigerians. Therefore, we call on the National Assembly to continue to put pressure on the executive to cancel the said reduction in the fine imposed on MTN, and go on to arrange negotiations related to the fine in an open and transparent manner’, Ugolor said.
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
39 Oyaide Street,
Off Benoni, GRA,
Advocacy Office: Plot 208, Zakariyah Maimalari Road
Off Herbert Macaulay Way,
Central Area, Abuja
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org www.aneej.org, @bobaneej
+2348156171133, +2348187674339, +234(0)8059880550
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