Nigerian telco giant, MTN has landed in yet another trouble as Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS), shutdown the telco facilities in the state.
The Kogi State revenue agency shutdown MTN’s facilities over failure to pay tax obligations of N120 million to the state government. Barrister Jamil Isah, the Director, Legal Services and Enforcement of the Kogi State Revenue Service, said MTN had been uncooperative in meeting its tax obligations.
Isah who led his team to seal the facilities of the telecom service provider on Mount Patti, at Obajana and other places in Lokoja, explained that following the intervention of the state governor and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the distrain order carried out against MTN last year was relaxed to give room for negotiation and resolution of the impasse.
According to Isah, MTN failed to utilise the opportunity but rather took the agency for granted by offering to pay only N250,000 as its final settlement out of the N120 million tax obligations owed the state.
“MTN did not take any steps to redeem its tax obligations, despite court orders, and has failed to make payment.
“The governor heeded the intervention of the National Communication Commission (NCC), when they came, and ordered the opening of the sealed MTN sites, to allow for negotiations.
“Since then, MTN has engaged in various means, to subvert the order of the court. We were surprised to see the query of the NCC, to question the distraining order of the High Court.
“When MTN decided to default in respect of the liability of N120 million and offered us a cheque of N250,000 which is manifestation of the resolve of MTN to disregard the laws of Kogi State, and to use other government agencies to subvert court orders.
“This informed our decision to continue our distraining order, and we will be there on ground to enforce it,” Isah said.
Effect of the shutdown
Following the shutdown of MTN’s facilities, the telco services in Lokoja and other parts of Kogi State have crashed. It was observed that many customers besieged the popular ‘GSM village’ in Lokoja to subscribe to other service providers as a result of the total blackout of MTN services.
Prior to the recent shutdown, the state government, had last year, shutdown same facilities in Kogi. The telco facilities were shut down alongside the facilities belonging to the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Forte Oil and Airtel.