Law News
Court strikes out suit challenging DStv new rates

A Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a suit seeking the reversal of the recent 20 per cent increment on DStv subscription rates.

The court also declined to make an order compelling the National Broadcasting Commission to regulate the activities of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the operator of DStv, so as to prevent what the plaintiffs termed arbitrary increment in DStv subscription rates.

The presiding judge, Justice C.J. Aneke, on Thursay, while ruling on the preliminary objection raised by MultiChoice, held that the plaintiffs had no reasonable cause of action.

He adjudged the suit as an abuse of court processes.

The judge aligned with the argument of MultiChoice’s counsel, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), that the court lacked the power to regulate the price of services that a business is offering to its customers.

In line with Onigbanjo’s argument that the plaintiffs did not comply with sections 97 and 98 of the Sherrifs and Civil Processes Act in the service of their court papers on the second defendant, NBC, Aneke held that the plaintiffs papers were defective.

“The service of the writ on the second defendant is invalid,” the judge held.

Onigbanjo had, in his argument, pointed the attention of the court to MultiChoice’s conditions or terms of agreement, especially clauses 40 and 41 stating that “Multichoice Nigeria may, from time to time, change the fees payable to Multichoice Nigeria for the Multichoice Service by way of general amendment.”

Aneke held that any customer who is displeased with MultiChoice’s terms reserved the right to opt out of the agreement.

Earlier, the judge rejected the argument by the plaintiffs’s counsel, Mr. Yemi Salma, that MultiChoice had no right of being heard in court, having shunned an interim injunction of the court of April 2, 2015 to reverse the increment.

Aneke held that the court was bound to entertain arguments from all parties before it, irrespective of the alleged violation of the court order.

The court had also refused the application by a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, to opt out of the suit.

Adegboruwa, who had along the line sought to join the suit as plaintiff, had on May 21, filed an application to opt out so as not to be bound by the ruling of the court.

But counsel for MultiChoice, Mr. M.K. Adesina, objected to the application, insisting that every other application had to wait until after the ruling.

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