- Mr. Buhari insists that mobile giant, MTN is responsible for Boko Haram attacks
- He accuses the mobile operator of unregistered sim cards been used by the terrorists
- He mentioned this during a visit by South African president, Jacob Zuma
The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari has accused Mobile phone giant, MTN, for fueling the Islamist-led insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr Muhammadu Buhari made the comment during a visit to Nigeria by his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma said mobile company failed to disconnect the unregistered sim cards, mostly used by the Islamists.
In his speech, the Nigerian president hinted that terrorists used the unregistered sim cards to co-ordinate attacks between 2009 and today. He also accused the terrorists of killing at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram.
Other mobile phone operators complied with a mid-2015 deadline to register all sim cards, but "unfortunately, MTN was very very slow and contributed to the casualties", Mr Buhari added.
Last year, Nigeria fined the South African-owned firm $3.4bn (£2.7bn) for missing a deadline to disconnect cards. Nigeria believes Boko Haram militants use unregistered sim cards to co-ordinate attacks. Nigeria initially imposed a $5.2bn fine on MTN in October, but brought it down to $3.4bn.
Reuter’s news agency reports that Mr Buhari said MTN, which was in talks with Nigeria to reduce the fine further, could make gradual payments. Last month, MTN said it had dropped court action to challenge the fine, and had paid $250m as part of efforts to reach an "amicable settlement".
MTN has 231 million subscribers in 22 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. However, Nigeria is its biggest market. In September, the company was named as most-admired brand in Africa in the Brand Africa 100 awards, beating Samsung, while it was also awarded the continent's most valuable brand, worth $4.6bn.
MTN was South Africa's second mobile operator when it was set up in 1994 after the end of apartheid. It began its expansion across Africa four years later with operations in Rwanda, Uganda and Swaziland.
The six-year insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes.