A man walks past a MTN notice board in Lagos. (Utomi Ekpei, AFP)
Some Fin24 users have come out in full support of Nigerian authorities who late last year slapped a $3.9bn fine on MTN for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards.
On Tuesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that MTN potentially fuelled the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country by failing to disconnect millions of unregistered users in a timely manner.
READ: MTN 'fuelled' Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria - Buhari
"You know how the unregistered GSM are being used by terrorists... That was why (the) NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) asked the MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM,” said Buhari.
"Unfortunately MTN was very slow and contributed to the casualties. And that was why the NCC looked at its regulations and imposed that fine on them," he added.
MTN last week said it is still engaging with Nigerian authorities on the massive fine. Last month, MTN also made a “goodwill” payment of $250m (R3.8bn) to Nigeria’s federal government in a bid to reach a settlement over the fine.
But many Fin24 users, in the meantime, have expressed their support of Buhari’s explanation around why MTN was fined.
Fin24 user Flex wrote:
“The fine is perfect since MTN is a huge company and they've been made aware of it prior. Besides MTN has played part of some of those attacks in a way since they're probably the biggest/main network in Nigeria. The fine should’ve been more!”
Fin24 user Dick wrote:
“I initially thought that the fine and the refusal to back down was just a ploy by the Nigerian government to extort some money from a South African conglomerate. This perfectly logical explanation has turned my views on the issue 180 degrees. Even though some will argue that you cannot link all the deaths to MTN’s actions, there can be no doubt that their irresponsible conduct would have aided and abetted the operations of Boko Haram. Even one death attributable to this conduct is one too many and no amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of human life.”
Fin24 user Bill added his voice to the MTN fine debate:
“Was it greed or stupidity on MTN s part? How much revenue did they get from these bad SIMS in the period? 5 million by $4 a month for six months $120 million at best.”
Fin24 user Mtizozo wrote:
“He (Buhari) makes a good point. He should say MTN may have indirectly contributed because he is not certain. That still doesn't explain the situation with other South African companies.”
But Fin24 user Mahendra said that MTN can’t be blamed for spurring on Boko Haram attacks:
“MTN cannot be blamed for these deaths as they did not directly or indirectly request the killing whatsoever. Terrorism by nature is a cowardly act done with any method and tools.”
Fin24 user Amigo has also questioned Buhari’s explanation:
“MTN has a poor client service, even in South Africa, they do not take responsibility. But the President of Nigeria is also shifting the blame.”