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Nigerian government says President must settle MTN fine

The Nigerian government has indicated that MTN will have to withdraw its legal challenge against the $3.9 billion fine issued by the regulator if it wishes to settle out of court.

Following the Nigerian High Court’s decision to give MTN until 18th March to reach an out-of-court settlement, telecoms minister Adebayo Shittu said that while no such agreement had yet been reached, withdrawing the case “creates a better environment where there is no stress or pressure on either side”.

MTN has previously stated that it would not pay a “dime or penny” of the fine, which it incurred for failing to disconnect unused SIMs in compliance with anti-terrorism regulation. While protracted negotiations reduced the original $5.2 billion fine by 25%, MTN decided to pursue the matter in court.

Shittu added that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was the ultimate authority on the issue – essentially adding another pre-condition to an out-of-court agreement. 

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