Tribunal Orders Free Month for Subscribers, Slams Multichoice Nigeria N150 Million

By Joke Kujenya

FOR DEFYING its interim orders and questioning the court’s authority, the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) has imposed a N150 million fine on Multichoice Nigeria in a decisive ruling on Friday.

The tribunal also mandated that Multichoice provide a month of free subscription to all Nigerian subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms.

This tribunal’s decision, delivered by a three-member panel led by Thomas Okosu, sternly criticized Multichoice’s actions as “condemnable and must not be condoned.”

Okosu asserted, “The jurisdiction of this tribunal extends to all business activities within Nigeria… I have come to the conclusion that this tribunal has the jurisdiction to preside over consumer rights as in the instant case.”

Multichoice had attempted to challenge the tribunal’s authority, but their preliminary objection was dismissed.

The core issue was not the subscription price hike itself, but the insufficient notice given to consumers about the increase.

Multichoice had provided only an eight-day notice, which the tribunal deemed illegal. “It is our submission that the 8-day notice issued by Multichoice Nigeria is insufficient in law. A monthly subscriber should be given at least a month,” argued Barrister Festus Onifade, who brought the case against Multichoice.

The tribunal had previously issued interim orders halting the proposed subscription rate increases set for May 1, pending a full hearing.

Despite these orders, Multichoice proceeded with the price hikes, prompting further legal action.

In addition to the financial penalty, the tribunal’s ruling demands that Multichoice compensate its customers with a free month of service to underscore the tribunal’s commitment to enforcing consumer protection laws and holding corporations accountable for non-compliance.

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