Mike Adenuga, the founder and owner of Globacom Limited, one of Nigeria’s largest telecommunications businesses, has paid N154 billion to the Nigerian government as part of the company’s spectrum license renewal payments after it was revealed that the company owed approximately N200 billion.
According to allegations, the telecoms magnate bribed and promised presidential intervention to the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in order to obtain his two-year tenure.
However, according to the most recent update on Wednesday, senior sources confirmed that Adenuga paid N154 billion in renewal costs following this newspaper’s story.
“After the report on Globacom which broke the back of the horse, Mike Adenuga has paid the government N154 billion with the remaining outstanding to be paid,” according to a reliable source. “Additionally, it is confirmed that the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Danbatta is to leave his current position in the coming days.”
In May 2023, Isa Ali Pantami, then Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, and Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf, former President Muhammadu Buhari’s personal secretary, allegedly conspired to ensure that the NCC granted broadcast frequency licenses in the 600MHz spectrum band in the waning days of the Buhari administration.
The decision was made to issue such licenses to enterprises tied to their friends and colleagues in the Aso Rock Villa, as well as a close buddy of Bola Tinubu, the president-elect at the time.
According to a source within the administration, Pantami and Tunde Yusuf were also seeking to divert proceeds from sales to private bank accounts, which was yet another attempt to siphon off extra public assets before handing over to the incoming government.
This misbehavior also featured a 50% license discount.
In a similar vein, sources within the presidency revealed that Danbatta duped the current Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, into signing off on a spectrum license trade that violated the one-year operating requirement in August, and also sent his son to India to lobby President Bola Tinubu’s son, Seyi, on his behalf.
One of the sources had said, “Since President Tinubu took office, Danbatta has showered those around the Aso Villa with bulletproof cars and cash to secure his position. His recent blunder of allowing Glo to ‘murder’ Nigerians without paying its N200 billion debt is a test of the president’s resolve.
“Upon learning of the presidency’s awareness of his misdeeds, Danbatta issued a fake threat to his staff to suspend all regulatory services to Glo. The question is, why did he not do so in May when the money was due?
“This story is a cause for concern because it suggests that Adenuga is using his wealth and power to evade his financial obligations to the government. It is also a cause for concern that Danbatta is using his position to protect Adenuga instead of upholding the law. His bribery of those around the Villa further suggests that he is trying to buy influence.”