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Nigerian President investigating Nitel Sale

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The sale of the former state owned telco, Nitel, and its miniscule mobile subsidiary has been put into question following the intervention of the newly elected President.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Communications Ministry to hand over paperwork on how the sale was processed following claims that the previous government sold the company for less than its value.

The charge is unlikely to have much credence though, as Nitel was practically bankrupt, and several previous attempts to sell the company foundered.

The ministry of communications' permanent secretary Tunji Olaopa said "The president was also concerned about the liquidation of NITEL. He is not opposed to its privatization but he wants to know… and he wants us to bring a memo on how the whole transaction was undertaken so that he would know whether Nigeria was short-changed,"

The privatisation took place last year, and was formally a few months ago, when the winning consortium paid USD252 million for the company.

Nitel had less than 100,000 landline users when it was wound-up by the government, and barely a few thousand customers of its mobile network. That compares to a country with over 100 million mobile phone subscribers connected to the private networks.

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Tags: nitel  Nigeria