September 06, (THEWILL) – The Competition and Consumer Protection (CCP) tribunal in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit challenging the decision of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited to hike subscription prices of its Dstv and Gotv packages.
A ruling by a three-member panel of the tribunal dismissed the suit for lacking merit.
Festus Onifade, a legal practitioner, had sued the company on behalf of himself and the coalition of Nigerian consumers.
While MultiChoice Nigeria Limited is the first defendant, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), is the second respondent.
Onifade asked the tribunal to restrain the firm from hiking subscription fees for its services and other products on April 1, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated and filed on March 29.
While the price increase has since taken effect, in a judgment on Tuesday, the three-member tribunal, headed by Thomas Okosun, held that the power to regulate prices of goods and services does not reside in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the regulatory agency.
The panel also refused to grant the claimants’ prayer to direct the firm to adopt a pay-as-you-view model of billing for all its products and services.
It, however, ordered FCCPC to investigate if the firm adopts a pay-as-you-view package for its products and services in other countries, especially South Africa, and report back to the court within six months.
The tribunal, in its ruling, also dismiss the claimants’ demand for N10 million damages.
The panel, therefore, declared that prayers 1, 2, and 3 of the claimants are not grantable as the power to regulate prices of goods and services only resides in the president of Nigeria. It also said that prayers 4 and 5 of the claimants lacked merit.
The panel, however, ordered the management of MultiChoice to appear before it on Sept. 8 with their 2021 audited financial statements.