MTN has moved to shut down operations at one of its offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja after it was attacked. According to online reports, a group of more than 100 angry youths stormed the premises of Africa’s biggest telecommunications provider on Wednesday, allegedly in retaliation for the violent xenophobic attacks that have gripped South Africa since March.
Earlier this week, following a series of demonstrations that have been staged against the South African multinational at its Benin and Abuja offices, MTN threatened to close down operations should any violence flare up.
Wale Goodluck, Corporate Service Executive at MTN Nigeria on Monday warned against vandalising the business’ premises and was at pains to stress that locals would be affected by any disruptions.
He said Nigerians make up around 99% of the company’s 6 000-strong workforce and that the more than 500 000 Nigerians who form part of the business’ support chain could face unemployment if MTN is forced to close its doors permanently.
“This business supports a lot of businesses across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Many of the businesses that are affiliated to South Africa are in the retail space, supporting the growth of Nigeria and employing so many Nigerians,” he was quoted as saying on bellanaija.com.
According to Ventures Africa, MTN has pumped more than R180 billion into building and expanding its business in the continent’s largest economy.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria Louis Mnguni was yesterday summoned to a meeting with Nigeria’s foreign ministry to relay the government’s contempt for the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreigners. Nigeria’s foreign ministry called on the South African government to quell the unrest and ensure that those involved in the violent attacks are brought to book.