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Telcos Threaten Legal Action Against Banks Over N120 Billion USSD Debts




Telecommunication companies in the country have threatened to take legal action against banks over N120 billion Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt owed by banks.

Naija News understands that the telcos who also threatened to withdraw USSD services have resolved that going to court might be the only option, since the banks have kept dragging the payment of the N120 billion debt.

The Chairman, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, told pressmen at the weekend that they leave them with no choice since banks have become adamant about making the payment despite the recent discussion between both parties over the payment of the debt that has spanned four years.

Adebayo, explained that telcos have the right to withdraw USSD services from banks because it is a commercial agreement, but there are several political factors playing out to hinder the withdrawal.

He said “I think is just best to withdraw the services. On this issue of USSD debt, if parties have to go to court to get a final resolution, so be it. This is because every effort that is being made by everyone, where we move one step forward, or several steps backward, is not going to work.

“This is a commercial agreement that went sour. This agreement has a provision for third-party intervention, whether arbitration or heading for the Court of Law, if it is allowed to take its own life, parties will decide where to go. Instead of going to meetings in Abuja with the minister or the CBN, parties would decide where to go according to the agreement.

“So when you open commercial agreement to political interference, you get into this kind of problem. That is why we say emphatically that some issues, including price review, should be left to market forces, not to be determined by government because it is not sustainable.”

Adebayo revealed that recently, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, has intervened in the matter and really sympathized with with telcos over the debts.

The minister, according to him, scolded the banks saying banks should not expect free service as there are costs to every service rendered.