DSTV hike: Lawyer to paste restraining order at MultiChoice office

The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal in Abuja has ordered that its interim order, restraining MultiChoice Nigeria Limited from increasing DSTV tariff, be pasted at the firm’s “corporate headquarters or any known address of the branches of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited across Nigeria.”

The chairman of the tribunal, Saratu Shafii, who made the order dated April 29, 2024, said the document should also be MultiChoice’s known email address, social media handles and any means of communication publicly known for MultiChoice.”

The interim order, restraining MultiChoice from increasing its tariff, was granted in favour of an Abuja-based lawyer, Festus Onifade, who is aggrieved by MultiChoice recent announcement to increase the tariffs on its DStv and Gotv packages effective from May 1.

In his suit, marked CCPT/OP/2/2024, Onifade listed   MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as defendants.

He sought  “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 scheduled to take effect from 1st May 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“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.”

On Monday, April 29, the tribunal issued an order stopping MultiChoice from increasing its tariffs and cost of products and services scheduled to take effect from May 1.

The three-member tribunal, presided over by  Shafii, gave the order following an ex parte motion moved by Ejiro Awaritoma, counsel for the applicant.

The company was restrained from effecting its planned price hike pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed before it.

However, upon moves by the tribunal to serve Multi-Choice, the bailiff alleged that staff at the Abuja office of the company refused to receive service of the order and other court documents.

The bailiff claimed that one of the company’s top managers at the Abuja office refused to receive the documents and instructed that the documents be sent to the Lagos office, being the headquarters.

Following the bailiff’s feedback, the tribunal issued an order of substituted service on MultiChoice pursuant to Section 48 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018; and Part N, Order 14 Rule 11(1) of the CCPT Rule, 2021.

In the certified true copy of the order of substituted service, the Shaffi-led panel directed that the ex-parte order in suit number: CCPT/OP/2/2024, be pasted at the corporate headquarters or any known address of the branches of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited across Nigeria.

She also ordered that the documents be sent to the company’s “known email address, social media handles and any means of communication publicly known for Multi-Choice and shall also be pasted in the CCPT communication outlet.

Multi-choice had recently announced price increments across its DStv and GOtv packages effective May 1, 2024.

The pay-TV company had claimed the price hike was due to the cost of business operations in Nigeria.

The PUNCH