Home » Headline » Skye Bank Chairman, Tunde Ayeni in trouble as Buhari revisits sale of NITEL
Skye Bank Chairman, Tunde Ayeni in trouble as Buhari revisits sale of NITEL
Tunde Ayeni: Chairman of Skye Bank, his company Lutol Properties involved in the purchase of NITEL

Skye Bank Chairman, Tunde Ayeni in trouble as Buhari revisits sale of NITEL

As a continuation of the current anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration, the President has demanded a comprehensive report on the liquidation of the Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL). And that means Skye Bank Chairman, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, Sahara Energy’s Tonye Cole maybe in trouble.

A statement by his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said Buhari made the demand after receiving a briefing from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications Technology, Dr. Tunji Olaopa.

The president said he was concerned by the continuing protests of former NITEL employees and other Nigerians over the manner in which assets of the company were disposed of.

The president however said he was not opposed to the liquidation of the telecommunications company belonging to the federal government but was concerned about the process.

The Goodluck Jonathan administration sold the telecoms company and its mobile subsidiary MTel for $252 million to NATCOM consortium  in December 2014 under a liquidation process that was superintended by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

NATCOM NATCOM has as members NATSPACE Telecommunication Investment Limited, PCCW Global Limited, Prime Union Investment Limited, Olutoyi Estate Development & Services Limited (owned by Ayeni), Legal Resources Alliance & Co., Sahara Energy Resources Limited (led by Tonye Cole), and LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited.

The NCP approved the liquidation of the company after four failed attempts to privatise NITEL and a failed management contract in 2003.

Speaking to State House correspondents after briefing the president on the activities of the Ministry, Olaopa said that the president had directed him to raise a memo on the whole transaction to ascertain if there were any underhand dealings.

He also stated that the president was equally concerned about the quality of services rendered by telecom operators in Nigeria.

He said: “The president was concerned about the liquidation of NITEL. He is not opposed to its privatisation 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 president was also concerned by the quality of services of telecom operators. The president is very concerned about the whole issue of privatisation that is hindering investments in ICT infrastructure and has promised to personally champion this. The president talked about the potential of the ICT sector in generating employment.”

In the statement, Buhari reportedly directed the Ministry of Communications Technology to work harder to fully develop the revenue generation potential of Nigeria’s information technology sector.

The president also directed the ministry to bring forward for his consideration and approval all pending proposals for the development of the country’s IT sector, which require the approval of the yet-to-be constituted Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“Where you don’t need EXCO approval and you are not in breach of the law and will not lose money, you can go ahead. Now that oil costs less and we are contending with its theft, we have to move to areas where we can realise revenue quickly,” the president said.

Buhari said he welcomed the plan by the ministry to use post offices across the country for IT and financial transactions especially in the rural communities, saying that he was happy to hear that “we are recovering the post offices from rats and rodents”.

The ministry’s presentation to the president dwelled primarily on the potential of the IT sector which Olaopa said contributes an estimated 10 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but could grow to 20 per cent if some proposals by the ministry are approved and implemented.



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