Multichoice is providing satellite television and broadcast services to Nigerians and some other African countries through DSTV and GoTV channels.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the restraining order was issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
The order followed a class action suit filed by two Lagos-based lawyers, Messrs Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, against the company, challenging the increase in cost of subscription.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on April 2, restrained the company from implementing its new subscription tariff from April 1, pending the determination of the suit.
NAN recalls that the judge had said that there should be no increase until the court meets to hear and determine the case.
In his remarks on the court order, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Multichoice’s lawyer, said that applications to discharge the order and to challenge the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter had been filed.
Onigbanjo also explained that the order was made a day after Multichoice started the implementation of the new rates, and that the order was brought to the attention of his client on April 8.
According to Mr Adelaja Onipede, a client of Multichoice, the company has no reason whatsoever to increase its tariff because of the quantity of subscribers to its services in Nigeria.
Another Multichoice client, Miss Ngozi Anosike, said: “The company has not improved its services; rather, it is cheating innocent Nigerians who spend their hard earned money to subscribe to their services.’’
“We have not been able to get value for our money; this type of outright cheating needs to be curbed.
“The company should maintain the status-quo in line with the court’s order, period,’’ Anosike said.
Mr Danladi Dogo, a business man, on his part, urged the company to encourage Nigerians by investing more on the growth of the nation.
“It would be better for them to improve their services by showing the latest innovative programmes without frequent repetition rather than just siphoning our money away.
“In fact, they should reduce the tariff to enable people in the rural areas access the services easily and they should establish more offices across the country especially in the riverside areas.
“They should also focus on offering Nigerian students, at home and abroad, scholarships, creating jobs and carrying out other positive activities as part of their social responsibility,’’ Dogo said.
Mr Osuji Emenike, an activist, said he would encourage people to carry out a peaceful rally if, at the end of the month, the Multichoice refused to address the issue.
“We have folded our hands enough for South Africans to take us for fools; look at what they are doing to our brothers in their country, we cannot do that to them here.
“No foreign company can disregard an order of the court in their country and it would be accepted calmly; Nigerians need to open their eyes.
“We parade ourselves as the `giant of Africa’ and allow people to cheat on us anyhow; this has to stop or else we would force it to stop,’’ Emenike said.
Multichoice Public Relations Manager, Ms Caroline Oghuma, had in a statement in March, said that there were some important factors that were considered before the company introduced the new tariff.
According to Oghuma, the factors included “the impact on the subscriber, current inflation, and efficiencies effected within the company that may offset the necessity for a price increase”.
The company also said that the increase in DSTV subscription tariff was not only in Nigeria but also in every country where Multichoice had its operations.
She explained that Multichoice implements annual subscription price increase in all its operating countries, however, a price increase was not implemented in Nigeria last year.
“We would like to reassure our subscribers of our best intentions and reaffirm our commitment to Nigeria which is clearly demonstrated through our continuous investment in the country,’’ Oghuma said.
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