The federal government appears to be prepared for a long-drawn battle with leading telecoms player, MTN, as it has rejected the firm’s offer of out of court settlement over the $3.4 billion fine slammed on it last October.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had in October of 2015 imposed a record $5.2 billion file on MTN Nigeria for failing to disconnect about 5.1 million unregistered lines from its network, but later reduced it to $3.4 billion after high-level discussions.
Apparently dissatisfied with the fine reduction, MTN took the Nigerian government to court.
However, the company on Friday issued a statement, saying it would now settle the case with the government out of court.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja Tuesday where he unveiled the new ICT road map for 2016-2020, the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, said the federal government was not aware of any out of court settlement over the fine.
“We are not aware of any out of court settlement on the issue. We will not accept out of court settlement until MTN willingly discontinue the case”, Adebayo said.
The Minister noted that by going to court, the telecoms firm, which had a deadline of December 31, 2015 to pay up the fine, just wanted to buy time.
He insisted that the federal government would slug it out with the company to the final point.