Nigeria government denies out-of-court settlement plan with MTN – report

The Nigerian Federal Government on Wednesday distanced itself from an out of court settlement with MTN over the fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the company last year, a newspaper report said.

According to The Guardian in Nigerian, the Minister of Communications Technology Adebayo Shittu, said there can be no out-of-court settlement if MTN does not withdraw the case from the court.

The NCC fined MTN Nigeria $5.2 billion last year for failing to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered cellphone SIM cards by the August deadline.

Last month, the mobile operator instructed its lawyers to challenge the imposition of the fine in the High Court in Lagos, and after further engagement got it reduced to around $3.4 billion.

Shittu told The Guardian that the case was in court and it was MTN that had dragged the Federal Government to court.

“As far as we are concerned, there can be no out-of-court settlement except that they withdraw the case from the court so that government will not be put under any pressure whatsoever,” Shittu told the newspaper.

“If the case is out-of-court, the President [of Nigeria] will take a decision. But for now, I am not aware of any out-of-court settlement.”

MTN spokesperson Chris Maroleng was not immediately available for comment.

In the last update about the Nigeria fine, MTN said it had been advised that in the current circumstances in line with the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), the parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined.

“This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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