Tariff hike: Tribunal dismisses suit against DStv-GOtv operators

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The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit filed against MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the operator of satellite televisions – the DSTV and GOTV.

The suit which was filed bu concerned consumers, was challenging the recent price hike by the company.

However, the three-member panel tribunal headed by Mr Thomas Okosun, in its judgment, dismissed the suit which was filed by Mr Festus Onifade on behalf of himself and the coalition of Nigerian consumers, as lacking in merit.

In the suit, MultiChoice was the first respondent while the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was cited as the second.

The plaintiff approached the tribunal a short period after MultiChoice announced its plan to increase subscription tariffs on all its products, from April 1.

In his amended suit on June 20, Onifade asked the tribunal to issue an order, directing and mandating the cable service provider to adopt a pay-as-you-view model of charging for its products and services in Nigeria.

He also demanded damages be awarded against the company to the tune of N10 million.

It was gathered that the tribunal initially granted an ex-parte motion that directed the parties to maintain status quo ante Bellum, but the company allegedly proceeded with the price increase on DStv and Gotv subscriptions.

MultiChoice’s lawyer, Mr Jamiu Agoro, challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the case.

He urged the tribunal to set aside its interlocutory order, arguing that the claimants lacked the locus standi to institute the action.

In his amended suit on June 20, Onifade asked the tribunal to issue an order, directing and mandating the cable service provider to adopt a pay-as-you-view model of charging for its products and services in Nigeria.

He also demanded damages be awarded against the company to the tune of N10 million.

It was gathered that the tribunal initially granted an ex-parte motion that directed the parties to maintain status quo ante Bellum, but the company allegedly proceeded with the price increase on DStv and Gotv subscriptions.

MultiChoice’s lawyer, Mr Jamiu Agoro, challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the case.

He urged the tribunal to set aside its interlocutory order, arguing that the claimants lacked the locus standi to institute the action.

The tribunal, however, dismissed the matter for want of merit, despite affirming its jurisdiction on the case.

The tribunal noted that “Only the President has the powers to regulate or fix prices of goods and services under stipulated circumstances which do not apply in this instance.”

It also posited that the claimants could not prove how they suffered psychological trauma, hardship or how their rights were trampled upon by the said hike.

The tribunal, however, dismissed the matter for want of merit, despite affirming its jurisdiction on the case.

The tribunal noted that “Only the President has the powers to regulate or fix prices of goods and services under stipulated circumstances which do not apply in this instance.”

It also posited that the claimants could not prove how they suffered psychological trauma, hardship or how their rights were trampled upon by the said hike.