NIGERIA’S CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCIL CLOSES MTN OFFICES OVER YELLO PROMOTION FOR A SECOND TIME

Telecoms

For the second time in three weeks, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) shut down the Abuja regional headquarters of MTN Nigeria, and threatened to press for the withdrawal of its operating licence if the company continues to flout the operational guidelines in its dealings with Nigerian subscribers to its network.

The CPC had earlier this month shut down the same office, over MTN's Y'ello Times Promotions which the agency said was unlawful and in contravention of rules and regulations, having not being duly registered and subjected to the scrutiny of the consumer rights agency.

MTN's employees and customers were taken unawares at about 9.50 a.m., as officials of the CPC and a team of armed policemen swooped on the No. 4 Madeira Street, Maitama District, regional Office, Abuja, and put it under lock and key. The rather swift operation had an immediate impact, as the policemen at the gate in a bid to enforce the Action, turned customers streaming into the premises back.

THISDAY learnt that the company's offices in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Owerri, Imo State, were similarly shut down in a renewed offensive launched against the company by the Consumer Protection Council. Giving reasons for the repeated raid, CPC Acting Director, Enforcement and Legal Matters, Mr Emmanuel Ataguba said the action had become necessary because all its entreaties to make MTN comply with the rules like other telecommunication companies in the country have failed.

A visibly disappointed Ataguba said after the last raid, MTN was expected to comply with the deadline handed down by the agency, especially when there was mutual agreement to that effect before the law enforcement agents vacated the premises early this month. According to Ataguba, MTN has not only reneged on the agreement, but has shown in clear terms that it was not bothered about the concerns of Nigerian consumers in whose interest the CPC was acting." MTN came forward to say that within one week, they would have complied, but this is three weeks after they have not complied.

Stop press: The stand off between mobile telecom firm, MTN Nigeria and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) over alleged non- compliance with statutory Sales Promotion Regulations took a new turn on Thursday as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja granted the prayers of the telecommunication company that the council vacate its sealed premises.

This Day