President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the South African telecoms firm MTN “contributed to the casualties” caused by the insurgent group Boko Haram. Buhari made this comments on Tuesday during a joint press conference with South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who is on a two-day state visit.
According to him, the slow registration of Nigerians on the MTN lines by the service providers contributed to the killing of at least 10,000 innocent Nigerians by the insurgents, Boko Haram.
Last year, the South African-owned firm was fined $3.4bn (£2.7bn) for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered sims.
Buhari was speaking publicly for the first time about the $3.9bn (£2.7bn) fine the Nigerian authorities imposed on MTN for its failure to block unregistered sim cards. He said;
This is the first time I will be personally as a president making a public comment about it. The concern of the federal government is basically on the security and not the fine imposed on MTN.
You know how the unregistered [sim cards] are being used by terrorists and between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram, at least 10,000.
He said it wasn’t just an order from the telecoms regulators but a security issue which other mobile phone operators complied with but MTN was very slow to comply with thus contributed to the casualties.
That was why NCC asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM. Unfortunately, MTN was very, very slow and contributed to the casualties.
However, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said South Africa and Nigeria need to work more closely together on political, social, economic and cultural issues. He also said there is need for the continent to work together to defeat all the forces that bring harm and suffering to it.
The South African President said;
Let the citizens of Africa march together to defeat all those forces that bring harm and suffering to our continent.