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MultiChoice Nigeria to appeal N150m fine, free subscriptions

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MultiChoice Nigeria has announced that it will appeal the ruling of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal in Abuja on Friday. 

The tribunal fined the company N150 million for not complying with its orders, which prohibited it from raising its monthly subscription until the outcome of a lawsuit Festus Onifade, an Abuja-based lawyer, brought before it was resolved.

Additionally, the tribunal ordered the pay-TV company to give its Nigerian customers a one-month complimentary subscription to its DStv and GOtv packages.

In a statement, the company expressed its disagreement with the ruling and said it would file an appeal.

The statement read in part, “MultiChoice Nigeria is aware of the recent ruling by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal regarding its jurisdiction to entertain a price regulation matter. We disagree with the ruling and will therefore file an appeal against the said ruling.

“As the matter is currently sub-judice, we are restrained from making further comments.”

Moyosore Onibanjo (SAN), the attorney for Multichoice, stated that he had filed a preliminary objection contesting the court’s jurisdiction over Onifade’s lawsuit.

Citing an earlier case where MultiChoice had won on the same basis, he contended that the tribunal should deny jurisdiction over the complaint submitted by Festus Onifade.

Onifade had filed lawsuits against MultiChoice Nigeria and the FCCPC, claiming that the pay-TV provider had unfairly raised subscription costs without giving consumers a month’s notice.

The eight-day warning period for the price hike, he claimed, was insufficient.

After the litigation, a three-member panel led by Saratu Shafii found in favour of Onifade and directed Multichoice Nigeria to postpone raising its membership prices, which were set to go into effect on May 1, 2024, until after the motion was heard and decided.

The manager of MultiChoice Nigeria’s Abuja office, Mohammed Sani, was then accused by Onifade of violating the court order, and she was charged with contempt.

He said that the corporation implemented the price increase on May 1, even though they received the purchase on April 29.

According to Onigbanjo, he filed the application on April 30 and questioned the tribunal’s jurisdiction in light of its April 29 ruling.

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