MTN’s regional office in Abuja ceased operations on Wednesday 22 April 2015 following attacks by irate youths. According to a news24 report, the attackers were allegedly protesting the on-going xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The report reveals that more than 100 youths converged outside the MTN office carrying placards with varying inscriptions. According to the report, MTN raised concerns about further attacks and implemented an immediate shutdown of the office. MTN staff said services would be suspended until the xenophobic attacks in South Africa had died down.
Update: MTN denies reports out of Nigeria on Thursday that its office in Abuja had to shut down after coming under attack as a result of xenophobic violence in South Africa.
MTN Corporate Services Executive Akinwale Goodluck said the Xenophobic attacks constituted an assault on common African humanity. He said as a mark of its support for the victims, MTN Group had provided financial support to the transit camps where many non-South Africans were presently being sheltered, adding that the money provided would be used to purchase food, medication, bedding, clothing and other necessities. This is according to a report by TelecomPaper.
Goodluck noted that the company had spent in excess of $15bn on capital expenditure growing the telecommunications business in Nigeria. “We see no revenge of Xenophobia and we commend the role the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa has played; at least there has been no fatality on the part of any Nigerian,” Goodluck added.
According to naij.com, a human rights group which goes by the name ‘The Flagship’ had barricaded MTN’s offices in Benin city, Edo state, protesting against the recent spate of Xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The group demanded that the South African government intervene and resolve the matter speedily or risk South African businesses being shut down in Nigeria.
In a bid to stabilise the situation, the South African government has called on the South African National Defence Force to “reinforce the work of police”, “exert the authority of the state” and “reclaim the streets” in so called “hotspots”. The government’s security cluster announced that troops had been deployed in Alexandra township—north of Johannesburg—and in some areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, as police struggle to control violence related to xenophobia. The attacks have so far claimed 7 lives.