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Multichoice appeals Tribunal’s ‘free subscription order’ for DSTV, GOTV subscribers in Nigeria

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Prominent Pay-TV operator, Multichoice Nigeria has filed an appeal against the ruling of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal which imposed a N150 million fine and “free monthly subscription order” on it following its preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction among other reliefs. the

Based on information from our sources familiar with the development, “a notice of appeal” has been entered against the recent ruling of the Tribunal.

Nairametrics first broke the news that a three-man panel of the tribunal led by Thomas Okosu also ordered Multichoice to give Nigerians a one-month free subscription on DSTV and GOTV for floating its interim orders restraining DSTV, GOTV price hike.

The tribunal had restrained MultiChoice from increasing its subscription rates pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by Barrister Festus Onifade.

Onifade, who sued Multi-Choice Nigeria Ltd, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission  (FCCPC), accused Pay TV of unjustly increasing subscription fees without one-month notice to customers and leveraged it to seek interim orders against Pay TV.

A three-member tribunal chaired by Saratu Shafii had ruled in favour of Onifade by restraining Multichoice in the  interim, in the suit marked CCPT/OP/2/2024, restraining the pay TV from going ahead with the impending price increase scheduled to take effect from 1st May 2024 pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

But Multichoice’s lawyer, Moyosore .J. Onibanjo (SAN) had filed a preliminary objection urging the court to decline jurisdiction on the suit filed by Festus Onifade and strike it out because such a price dispute case had been decided before in favour of his client.

On his part, Onifade argued that the issue he placed before the court is  whether Multichoice Nigeria gave adequate notice in respect of the May 1, 2024 price TV subscription increase, and not price regulation or increase.

In its ruling, the three-man panel chaired by Justice Thomas Okosu held that Section 39(2) of the FCCPC Act states that the tribunal shall have jurisdiction throughout the federation and on all commercial activities aimed at making a profit.

Besides, the tribunal held that the claimant’s instant suit is not questioning the Multichoice price hike as claimed by Onibanjo but the illegality of his client’s 8-day notice to the customers.

The tribunal dismissed Multichoice’s preliminary objection for disobeying its interim orders and subsequently imposed a 150 million administrative penalty on Multichoice as well as a one-month subscription order against Pay-TV.

Speaking to Nairametrics immediately after the court’s ruling, the legal team of Multichoice had vowed to appeal the ruling, saying “The matter was adjourned to 7th June 2024 for ruling on our application challenging jurisdiction however surprisingly rather than just ruling on its jurisdiction the Tribunal went ahead to pronounce us guilty of disobedience of its orders and issued severe sanctions against us all without hearing us on the matter in breach of our constitutionally guaranteed rights to a fair hearing.”

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Nigerians can now obtain UAE visas, says FG

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Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, says Nigerians can now apply for and obtain visas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Idris said the federal government has reached an agreement with the UAE to allow Nigerian passport holders to obtain visas for travel to the Arab nation starting today, July 15.

The minister spoke with the State House correspondents in Abuja on Monday, shortly after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting.

He said the agreement includes updated controls and conditions to be fulfilled before the issuance of a UAE visa.

On December 13, 2021, the UAE issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citing a surge in the countries’ COVID-19 cases among passengers from the two African nations.

However, TheCable reported the travel ban might not be unconnected with the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE over Air Peace’s flight frequency to the Arab country.

Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in the UAE, but only one was granted by the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

GCAA said Air Peace should not expect to retain its flight frequency after pulling out of Sharjah Airport; the Nigerian airline, however, denied the claim.

In retaliation for Air Peace’s treatment in the UAE, the federal government dropped Emirate’s slots from 21 to one, leading to the Dubai-based airline suspending all its flights to Nigeria.

In September 2023, the federal government said the airline would resume services in Nigeria, signaling a resolution of the dispute.

The assurance followed a meeting between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mohamed bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates.

But since the meeting and the federal government’s announcement, Emirates has yet to begin scheduled flight operations.

In April, Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, said Emirates Airlines is prepared to resume flight operations to Nigeria.

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Lagos state government designates 5 operational parks for trucks in Lekki-Epe corridor ahead of e-call up system launch

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The Lagos State Government has designated five operational parks for trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor in anticipation of the e-call-up system’s launch on August 1, 2024.

This strategic initiative aims to regulate truck movements and prevent the traffic congestion previously seen at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

According to Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the designated parks for articulated trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor are Hog Marketing Limited in Okorisan, Epe; Nilmage Two4Seven in Poka, Epe; Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd. opposite Dangote Refinery on Lekki Coastal Road; Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. in Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe; and Tal Concept Ltd. at HFP Brick Industry on Lekki-Epe Expressway.

“Five operational parks for trucks: Hog Marketing Limited (Okorisan, Epe), Nilmage two4seven (Poka, Epe), Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd (Opp. Dangote Refinery, Lekki Coastal Road), Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. (Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe), Tal Concept Ltd (HFP Brick Industry, Lekki-Epe Expressway),” the statement read in part.

Furthermore, the Lagos State Government has mandated that all articulated trucks operating in the corridor must be equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. This requirement aims to streamline and automate the management and tracking of truck movements once the system goes live next month.

Additional initiatives in the implementation plan include the separation of wet and dry cargo and the deployment of vehicle inspection services at parks for vehicle certification.

These measures are designed to eliminate traffic congestion, address environmental concerns, and reduce accidents caused by trucks along the corridor. They will also help manage the increased activity expected from the Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port, and other entities.

The Lagos State Government provided additional details on the e-call up system, clarifying that it will officially launch on August 1, 2024, through the platform mycallup.com, with full enforcement beginning on August 7, 2024.

Compliance with this system is mandatory, and trucks that fail to comply will be impounded to ensure strict adherence to the new regulations.

The government emphasized the necessity of cooperation from all stakeholders for the success of this initiative. This includes truckers, organizations, security agents, and local communities, all of whom must work together to prevent a recurrence of the severe traffic congestion and logistical issues previously experienced at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

The active participation and commitment of these groups will be instrumental in ensuring a smoother and more efficient transportation process along the Lekki-Epe corridor.

The state government emphasizes that by adhering to these regulations and fully cooperating, stakeholders can contribute to a more organized, safer, and environmentally friendly transport environment in Lagos.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate increases to 34.19% amid rising food prices

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Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 34.19 percent in June 2024 — up from 33.95 percent in May.

The data is captured in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its consumer price index (CPI) report for June, released on Monday.

The CPI measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services.

According to the bureau, food inflation also surged to 40.87 percent in the month under review as prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to surge.

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