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In a lighter mood today, MTN is in the ring. I will always choose the MTN. This is a telephone network service which came into this country and moved fast enough to make telecommunication much easier. It bridged the yawning gap between the have and the have-not. Not that the other networks have nor done equally that, MTN was the first to do it. The wretched man or woman, even the child is proud with his phone, just as any other person. Telephone services used to be exclusive to the wealthy people. But now it is available to all. For once in our society the poor have a chance to enjoy the same service with the rich. In homes and in schools you see small children answering calls and asking to have their own mobile phones. Old grannies and grandpas can call and be called by their children anywhere in the globe. They learn amazingly so quickly how to use the phones.

All the same the misuse of the gadget can distress one. There are people who do not answer to their calls, playing big. Others take offence when people make the mistake of calling them. Some people have never made attempt to learn how to make polite phone calls. They stay at their end raining abuses on or embarrassing people they call in error: “who are you? Who’s that? Will you drop that phone, fool, don’t call this line ever in your life” and such things. You wonder why such harmless transactions, without physical contact, should cause such offence. It is just lack of training on how to relate to others on the phone. Just that ones phone rings in error or by mistake, what is regarded as calling a “wrong number”, you see the howling with unprintable abuses as though the call is a wound mortally inflicted on a person, which he cannot forgive.

Last month, armed robbers or kidnappers used their phones to do their business as usual. They called a man they thought they could intimidate and asked him to place 10 million naira for them to pick up. The man pleaded with them to leave him alone. He told them he didn’t have the money, and that was the truth. But that inflamed them the more. The man went as far as preaching to them, quoting some passages from the bible. He advised them that the course they had chosen was sinful, ungodly and perilous, but they would hear none of that. He told them about the need for good behavior and changing to a better lifestyle. They called him more frequently, telling him they would kill him, the way Islamic militants of Syria and Iraq do, by beheading, if he failed to meet their demand, and sooner. They threatened him, his wife and entire family. Now, this is where the value of MTN came in again. The man who was threatened went to MTN. He got their expert tracker to track the phone calls he was getting from the evil men/boys. Incidentally and surprisingly girls were among them too. With their machine, MTN was able to locate their station. They were rounded up. They all were arrested. I hear they were tortured and shot. Their reign of terror ended. There is no legal protocol in Nigeria about what to do with such cases. It is a war situation with killers who terrorize people everywhere. This was MTN on a positive note.

But MTN has its nuisance value which it is being vicious about. MTN has devised mischievous tricks about making money from people. The Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria should hear it. MTN had sent numerous messages in the past that won millions in contests I never knew about, let alone taking part in. All were fake and just to get some money out of people. Filthy money! Can you imagine MTN sending me SMS that I have been given admission into Poly, Nekede. Was that a mistake or deliberate mischief? I never asked for it. Poly Nekede can never make such a mistake. Such offer is useless to me at my age. What that caused me was distraction. But look at other messages I have received: “for your immediate health solutions, GIST A DOCTOR, through your mobile phones. To subscribe, send DR to 35242 to start a chart. N100/month.

MTN N.   Hurray! Receive FREE 5MB to browse and 4mins of calls as you celebrate Nigeria @ 54. Simply recharge N100 & above to enjoy this offer. Valid till 11:59 1/10/2014.

“Change is not a threat. It is an opportunity. Transform your business today with money shop. Text YES to 5021 to subscribe. N50/wkly. Text STOP to unsubscribe.

“Subscribe to News Headlines. Text NEWS to 33330 at N50/week or NEWSD to 33330 at N10/day.

“The job market is becoming competitive. Increase your chances of getting a job with daily job alerts from Phillips Consulting. Text ALERTS to 5031, N50/wk.

“Experience unlimited instant airtime recharge when you answer just 3 questions in the brain-wave game. Text WAVE to 5032 to get started now. N10/SMS.

“Boost your spiritual life with daily quotes by Bishop David Oyedepo. Send BDO to5029 to subscribe at N50/week.

“Make God your focus, material things will make you their destination. For more quotes from Pastor Itua ighodalo, text TRINITY to 5031. N50/wk.

“This week you will live an extraordinary life of victory and excellence. For more prayers frm Rhapsody of Realites, text ROR to 5031. N50/wk.” This is not all. And it comes in torrents, daily. What sort of harassment is this? Just to get money? If this is not executive pick-pocketing, what then is it? What I do is to take it off as soon as the alert comes in. I left these ones. When it became too irritating, and I wanted to write about it. Phone owners, I hope to be speaking your mind with this. I pray this pestering stops forth with. If not, may our federal government do something to check MTN’s excess in this regard. Are the other networks doing the same thing? I don’t know. I hope not.




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Christian Voice