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Nigerians get month free pay-TV after tribunal fines MultiChoice

A Nigerian consumer tribunal fined the local unit of Africa’s biggest pay-TV company MultiChoice Group (MCGJ.J) 150 million naira ($107,142.86) for contempt of court and ordered the company to offer its subscribers one month of free service.

MultiChoice, which operates pay-TV services DSTV and GOTV in Nigeria, increased subscription rates by about 25% in May, drawing complaints from subscribers.

The decision by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) followed a lawsuit filed by subscriber Festus Onifade in April, who argued that MultiChoice’s eight-day notice before the price hike was insufficient.

Friday’s CCPT ruling comes after MultiChoice Nigeria defied a previous order to halt the price increase.

MultiChoice did not immediately respond to a request for comments and its lawyers have not yet indicated whether they will appeal the ruling.

The CCPT subsequently restrained MultiChoice from raising prices on April 29. However, the company challenged the court’s jurisdiction and proceeded with the increase.

The tribunal led by Justice Thomas Okosu asserted its authority over consumer rights cases and imposed a fine on MultiChoice for defying its order.

By CAMILLUS EBOH

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