MTN Nigeria shops shut down over retaliatory attacks after xenophobic incidents in South Africa




MTN Group, the South Africa-headquartered telecoms firm with operations in 21 countries, has closed its outlets in Nigeria in the face of retaliatory attacks in the country following this week’s xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

The xenophobic attacks in South Africa have so far claimed the lives of five people whose nationalities is still unknown according to reports while dozens have been apprehended.

The closure of the outlets comes after four MTN outlets were attacked in Nigeria by people targeting them as a retaliation for attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

In a statement issued today, the telco noted that that it “reiterates its stand against any form of xenophobia and damage to property and remains concerned about the situation in its markets.”

“MTN confirms that over the last day four MTN outlets in Nigeria have been the subject of attacks and we have had to close some stores in Johannesburg. There are no reported injuries.

While we remain committed to providing uninterrupted services, the safety and security of our customers, staff and partners is our primary concern. MTN’s stores and service centres in Nigeria have therefore been closed as a precaution.

MTN is working with the relevant authorities and other stakeholders to focus on stabilising the situation both in Nigeria and South Africa and to ensure the safety and well-being of all those impacted by the unfortunate violence. We are also looking at coordinating with key stakeholders to work on medium to long term interventions to this situation.

As a company, we remain committed to ensuring a peaceful, harmonious and respectful relationship with all our stakeholders across Africa.”

In an earlier statement issued yesterday, MTN Group condemned the attacks.

“As MTN we strongly condemn prejudice and xenophobia and we reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of any and all violence. As a leading pan-African telecommunications company with operations in 21 countries, MTN believes in the potential of an Africa whose nations pursue deeper trade, integration and cooperation. We actively encourage the dialogue necessary to maintain peace and sustain strong relationships and urge all our customers and stakeholders to support and defend the principles of human rights, diversity and inclusion and an integrated collaborative Africa.”

In July, MTN Nigeria reported that its mobile subscribers increased to 61.5 million in the first quarter of 2019 according to financial results for the first quarter of 2019.

MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman said: “In the first half of 2019, we sustained a solid performance, delivering double-digit growth in service revenue, underpinned by growth in voice and data revenue. We added 3.3 million customers to our network, increasing our subscriber base to 61.5 million. Pleasingly, we saw data subscribers increase in the period by 2.1 million to 20.7 million.”

The report noted that within the period, service revenue increased by 12.2 per cent while voice revenue increased by 11.4 per cent. Data revenue increased to 31.7 per cent while Fintech also shot up by 21.2 per cent. However, digital revenue decreased by 64.5 per cent.

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