MTN Admits Network Downtime, Rules out Sabotage over Xenophobic Attacks

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Emma Okonji

MTN subscribers in the last two days have complained of the difficulty of getting through to the MTN network via data and voice connectivity, making it extremely difficult to either make calls or get fast data connections.
The situation, which is heavily felt in Lagos, Abuja and some other cities, has rendered MTN subscribers incommunicado for some days.

Attributing the challenge to the ongoing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, some MTN subscribers said Nigerians might have made good their threats to vandalise MTN facilities in the country, in revenge for the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

Some, however, felt that MTN might have deliberately shutdown its operations in some suspected volatile areas of the country for fear of reprisals following the attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.
But responding to the issue yesterday, MTN Nigeria dismissed the rumors and allegations of possible attacks on its network or deliberate shutdown of its network in some sections of the country.

The PR and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Funso Aina, explained in a statement that the challenges had nothing to do with reprisals on xenophobia.

“The outage we are currently experiencing does not have anything to do with the attack on our office. It is just a temporary downtime in some of our network coverage areas, which is currently being fixed by our engineers.
“We have taken immediate steps to notify impacted customers of the fault and to assure them of the restoration of full services very soon,” Aina said.

When asked to give a specific time when the network issues will be addressed, Aina said the site engineers were working on the affected sites and would fix the challenge as soon as possible.
“We are confident that the issue will be resolved in no distant time and our subscribers will start enjoying full services again,” Aina said.
In renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa in recent weeks, many homes and shops of Nigerians were targeted and looted.
Many unemployed South Africans have accused foreigners of taking their jobs and a local group unleashed mayhem on foreigners, especially Nigerians.

However, in a reprisal, some Nigerian youths last week invaded the MTN office in Abuja but were stopped by the police. The youths had threatened to shutdown South African owned businesses in Nigeria if the attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa persisted.