Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Three weeks after increasing its subscription, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Multichoice not to do so.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Monday asked the cable company, sued by the Federal Government, not to impose any hidden charges pending the determination of the plaintiff’s motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
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The restraining order was issued in respect of Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/894/18 brought before the court by the Consumer Protection Council in the light of the strong public interest raised in the application.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had granted the authority for the council to initiate the suit under Sections 10 and 16 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, Cap c25, LFN 2004.
The application was filed by the CPC on behalf of the Federal Government, with the Director-General of the CPC, Babatunde Irukera, leading other concerned Nigerians to court for the case.
The application was accompanied with a nine-paragraph statement jointly signed by Messrs Irukera, Abimbola Ojenike, Eme David-Ojugo, Moray Adebayo, Teniola Medupin and Florence Abebe.
The suit has been adjourned till August 28, 2018 for further hearing.
The Federal Government had argued that the increment would have unfavourable effects on Nigerians.
In his ruling, the judge said, “An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the defendant/respondent by itself representatives, agents, affiliates, officers, or privies howsoever described from continuing the implementation of any increased subscription rate or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers of defendant/respondent’s services pending determination of the plaintiff/applicant’s motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed in this suit.”
The court also restrained the DSTV from further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which could interfere with or have effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
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In July, MultiChoice Nigeria announced new monthly subscription rates for the DSTV Access from N1,900 to N2,000; premium bouquet from N14,700 to N15,800; compact plus from N9,900 to N10,650; compact bouquet from N6,300 to N6,800; and family package from N3,800 to N4,000.
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