Tariff: Tribunal Asks DStv, GOtv To Maintain Status Quo

A Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCPC) Tribunal sitting in Abuja has directed MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the operators of DStv and Gotv, to maintain status quo of its March 30, 2022 order pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

The three-member tribunal headed by Thomas Okosun gave the order yesterday following an oral application for adjournment moved by counsel for the firm, Jamiu Agoro, to enable him respond to counter affidavit and written address, including the contempt charge, filed against his client.

According to the news Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the claimants: Festus Onifade, a legal practitioner and the Coalition of Nigeria Consumers, on behalf of himself and others, had sued the company and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.

They prayed the tribunal for an order, restraining the firm from increasing its services and other products on April 1, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated and filed on March 30, and the tribunal granted the ex-parte motion, directing parties to maintain status quo ante bellum.

When the matter was called, Onfifade said the matter was slated for the hearing of the motion on notice, seeking a perpetual restraining order against the firm pending the determination of the suit.

He said he filed a counter affidavit against a motion filed by the company challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear their application.

Besides, the lawyer said they filed a written address and contempt proceedings against the Managing Director of MultiChoice, John Ugbe, and its directors for them to show cause why they should not be committed to prison for alleged disregard of panel’s order made on March 30.

Counsel for MultiChoice, Jamiu Agoro, acknowledged the receipt of all the processes filed by the claimants.

“On behalf of the 1st defendant/respondent, we filed an application praying this honourable court for an order staying execution of that order made by this honourable tribunal on March 30,” he said.

The panel head, Okosun, told Agoro that since the tribunal was not a regular court, he would not entertain issues that could determine the subject matter.

“It is necessary we do this so that we can dispense with this case as much as possible,” he said.

The tribunal, who said since the lawyer acknowledged receipt of claimants’ applications, it said: “Have you obeyed? If you have not, why?”

But Agoro said, “As a tribunal, I just want to read out a prayer which will lead us to other issues.”


He said a counter affidavit and written address by the claimants in response to their counter were just served on them today.

He had made some denials and allegations which we would have to respond to.

He said the contempt proceeding was also served on him this morning and he also intended to respond.

Agoro said he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the matter.

Okosun further asked the lawyer if the firm disobeyed the order made.

Responding, Agoro said, ”As much as the questions which the tribunal has posed, the issue has been where there is an order of court and an aggrieved party who had either applied to set aside that order or had exercise its rights of appeal against that order, such party cannot be held to be in contempt of that order.”

He cited previous cases to back his arguments.

“So, on that basis, as contained in this authorities and avalanche of others, we submit that we are not in contempt of order of this honourable tribunal,” he said.

He said in view of his application challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal, “this court is to first inquire whether it has the jurisdiction to determine the application.


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