National

Breaking: Court orders Multichoice to give Nigerians free DSTv, GOTv subscription

The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal, (CCPT), sitting in Abuja, on Friday, awarded a fine of N150 million against MultiChoice Nigeria Limited for disrespecting its jurisdiction by flouting its order.

The tribunal, in a unanimous decision by its three-member panel, equally ordered MultiChoice to provide Nigerians with a one-month free subscription on its DSTV and GOTV services.

The Saratu Shafii-led tribunal made the orders following an ex-parte motion that was filed on behalf of MultiChoice subscribers by a legal practitioner, Mr Festus Onifade.

The tribunal subsequently fixed July 3 to hear the substantive action that was instituted against the company.

It will be recalled that the panel had on April 29, restrained MultiChoice Nigeria Limited from going ahead with its plans to increase tariffs and cost of its products and services, on May 1.

Onifade had approached the tribunal, alleging that an eighth-day notice the respondent gave before hiking prices of its services, was grossly inadequate.

He contended that the tribunal had in its previous rulings, stressed that at least one month notice must be given to subscribers before such increase in prices of both DSTV and GOTV services could be effected.

Specifically, the Applicant, in the motion that was moved by his counsel, Ejiro Awaritoma, applied for, “an order of interim injunction of this honourable tribunal restraining the 1st defendant whether by themselves, her privies, assigns by whatsoever name called from going ahead with impending price increase schedule to take effect from 1st May, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

As well as, “An order restraining the 1st defendant from taking any step(s) that may negatively affect the rights of the claimant and other consumers in respect of the suit pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

Cited as defendants in the suit marked: CCPT/OP/2/2024, were MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC).

In its ruling, the tribunal granted the interim orders as prayed.

The tribunal restrained Multi-Choice from proceeding with its scheduled price increase, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed before it.

It held: “The 1st defendant is hereby restrained from taking any step(s) that may negatively affect the rights of the claimant and other consumers in respect of the suit pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

However, despite the restraining order, MultiChoice proceeded with its planned tariff hike, even as it challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to issue the interim orders against it.

Other members of the panel that awarded the fine against MultiChoice on Friday for flouting the interim order, were, Thomas Okosun and Dr. Umar Duhu.

Back to top button